Marty Stuart

Grammy Award-winning country music singer Marty Stuart got his start performing with Johnny Cash before launching a successful solo career.
Born in Mississippi in 1958, country music singer Marty Stuart got his start in Johnny Cash's back-up band in 1979. He soon enjoyed solo success as well as hits performing with other country musicians, including Travis Tritt and Willie Nelson. He has received multiple Grammy Awards for his work.

Early Life

Musician, singer, songwriter. Born on September 30, 1958, in Philadelphia, Mississippi. A legendary country music performer, Marty Stuart received his first guitar not long after he learned to walk. He became such a strong musician that he turned professional at the age of 12, spending the summer touring with the Sullivan Family, a bluegrass-gospel group, as a mandolin player. This summer adventure proved to be a life-changing event. "I felt like I had found my life. I felt like I had run away with the circus. But when school started . . . I hated it. I didn't fit in any more," Stuart reflected later.

Before long, Stuart dropped out of school to play mandolin with Lester Flatt and his band The Nashville Grass. The 13-year-old musician spent years on the road, performing at bluegrass festivals and concerts. During his time with Flatt, Stuart met a diverse group of musical greats, including Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Chick Corea, the Eagles, Emilylou Harris, and Bob Dylan.

The year after Flatt's death in 1979, Stuart joined Johnny Cash's back-up band as a guitarist. He also worked on solo projects, releasing his second album, Busy Bee Cafe, in 1982. The bluegrass recording featured performances by Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash, and Doc Watson, and it earned strong reviews.

Solo Career

Around this time, Stuart married Cash's daughter Cindy, but he parted ways with his father-in-law in 1985 in order to focus on his own career. Exploring the sounds of rockabilly, he found some success with the 1986 album Marty Stuart and scored his first hit with the song "Arlene." Stuart also worked on his stage persona, choosing to wear fancy western-style suits on stage and to tease his hair. In his personal life, he began to make changes, too. He and his wife Cindy divorced in 1988.

Returning with 1989's Hillbilly Rock, Stuart reached the top 10 of the country music charts with the album's title track. He again won over country music fans with 1991's Tempted, which featured "Burn Me Down" and "Little Things." Partnering with Travis Tritt, Stuart won his first Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Collaboration for "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'" in 1992. The pair toured together and scored another big hit with their "This One Is Going to Hurt (For a Long, Long Time)" that same year.

In 1993, Stuart won another Grammy Award—this time for Best Country Instrumental Performance. He joined forces with Chet Atkins, Vince Gill, and several other country stars for the song "Red Wing." His next solo album Love and Luck (1994) proved to be a commercial disappointment, but he remained a popular country star. Stuart hosted the first of many Marty Party television specials that year.

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