My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives – ‘The Gospel Music of Marty Stuart’

martystuartGospel albums, like Christmas albums, tend to all contain the same handful of songs, regardless of who the artist is, but Marty Stuart wisely avoids this trap with his new collection, The Gospel Music of Marty Stuart, which was released last month as part of the Gaither Gospel Series. The songs encompass a variety of styles from rockabilly and blues to country and a few straightforward hymns as well.

Backed by his Fabulous Superlatives and joined by guests Harry Stinson, Kenny Vaughan, and Connie Smith, Stuart has managed to put together a collection of tunes that even diehard secularists should enjoy. While the lyrics are overtly and unapologetically Christian, the arrangements themselves are diverse and not strictly a collection of “church songs”. I have quite a few gospel albums in my music collection, but most of the tunes here were new to me.

The album opens with the rockabilly number “99 and 1/2 Won’t Do” and is followed by the bluesy “Don’t Leave Home Without Jesus”. “Greystone Chapel” is a remake of a tune from Johnny Cash’s 1968 album Live at Folsom Prison. The most traditonal number on the album is the closing tune “The Unseen Hand”, which also appeared on Stuart’s 2005 gospel album Soul’s Chapel.

I enjoyed all twelve of the album’s songs but a few stand out as favorites: the stripped-down “The Master Is Waiting”, featuring Harry Stinson as lead vocalist, the pedal-steel laced “Walking My Lord Up Calvary’s Hill” performed by Connie Smith, and the revival-style “He Turned The Water Into Wine”, one of two songs on the album with which I was previously familiar (the other is “Just A Little Talk With Jesus”).

Like all Marty Stuart albums, this collection contains excellent musicianship and fabulous harmonies throughout. It is billed as a live album, but it is not a concert album; rather it is performed live in the studio without an audience. The album appears to have been made on the cheap, but that only adds to its charm, giving it a sitting-around-the-living-room feel.

Religious albums aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there is much here to like for those willing to keep an open mind. It is well worth giving a try.

Grade: A

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One response to “Album Review: Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives – ‘The Gospel Music of Marty Stuart’

  1. Pingback: UT Acquires Willie Nelson Collection; Nashville Gets Renewed; New Music Videos - Engine 145

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