If you’re going to name your band the Fabulous Superlatives, they’d better be good, and country veteran Marty Stuart has no problems with his backing musicians living up to that name. Nor does he have a problem if fans remember band leader and band all together.
“I’ll stand on this: If you look back to the country stars of the 1960s, Merle Haggard had his Strangers, Johnny Cash had his Tennessee Three, George Jones and the Jones Boys,” he said. “You saw them play and you went home remembering that night. Having a night with the Superlatives — that’s the kind of night I had back then and it’s an honor to be part of that tradition . . . (the Fabulous Superlatives) are awesome people.”
Waco fans get their chance at Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives Thursday night when they perform at the Waco Hippodrome.
Stuart, 60, long a champion of traditional country music and its history, leaves the door open for the possibility of superlatives when it comes to his set list, a skeleton of an outline that the musicians flesh out on stage.
There’ll be hit songs from the 1980s and 90s when he was on the radio and touring with Travis Tritt in their “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ ” days, plus country classics distilled from a lifetime connecting Nashville’s gloried past with the present and new music from his latest album “Way Out West.”
That’s the starting point with the music and the audience taking it from there.
Born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, Stuart’s precocious ability on guitar and mandolin hooked him up with the bluegrass Sullivan Family, then Lester Flatt, Vassar Clements and Johnny Cash, whose bands he played with before setting out on his own in the 1990s.
While he continues to write and perform, Stuart has become known as an advocate for traditional country and Americana music over the last two decades. “I was raised by master architects,” he said. “And I feel country music is a culture as worthy as jazz, ballet and classical music.”
It’s no surprise that one of his latest projects finds him working with celebrated documentarian Ken Burns for Burns’ upcoming series on country music. It’s also no surprise that he’s got a project for his hometown, a Congress of Country Music that combines music history and heritage with education and live performances.
“That’s my hillbilly presidential library,” he laughed.