Marty Stuart has long been one of Nashville’s finest ambassadors of real deal country music and once you have heard the opening bars of this album there is no doubting, the Mississippi-born multi-talented picker, vocalist and one-time band member of both Lester Flatt (the other half of Flatt & Scruggs) and Johnny Cash's band. Of still being the real deal and there isn’t a chink in the armour to be seen or heard!
Stuart is joined on the record by his band, the Fabulous Superlatives (Kenny Vaughan, Harry Stinson and Paul Martin plus Gary Carter and Robby Turner and there’s special guests Buck Trent (banjo), Kenny Lovelace (fiddle) and Hank3 (Williams) on a song by his grandfather Hank Williams Snr ‘Picture From Life’s Other Side’. It being one of only three songs not written by Stuart, a man capable of slotting into a groove of yesteryear like it was second nature, and given his pedigree one could argue it is.
When it comes exceptional landmarks his version of Jerry Chestnut’s ‘Holding On To Nothing’ (w/ Trent) coupled with his own barroom ballad ‘A Song Of Sadness’ (featuring harmony vocals of Lorrie Carter Bennett) plus with a swagger, ‘A Matter Of Time’ (not to be confused with ‘It’s Just A Matter Of Time’ and was not only a hit for Brook Benton but country act Randy Travis) and the red-hot picking aided, title-track ‘Tear The Woodpile Down’ are top class. The latter is a ripper as Vaughan and Stuart rip it up. One story dates back to Marty’s fateful first visit to Music City in 1972; this was when he was met by Roland White then with Lester Flatt and got to see (from the safety of his car) it’s neon lights and infamous downtown district. ‘Sundown In Nashville’ is a wonderful commentary of the area and how lots of people like him visit with the intention (dream) of making it big and how a lucky break or two never come amiss.
It is always great to hear from Marty and though the album doesn’t make the impression of Badlands or Pilgrim but after all they were exceptional concept albums it does have an accompanying booklet that gives a detailed account to his formative days in Nashville (and some of the exceptional talent that have gone before him) and great love of traditional country music.
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