For Marty Stuart, it all comes back to Mississippi. The country music star found inspiration for his blend of country and bluegrass sounds in his hometown of Philadelphia, and then carried that sound around the world.
He returns to his home state Friday to perform, open his exhibit of country music memorabilia and sign copies of his book, “Country Music: The Masters.”
“I’m honored to be coming to Tupelo,” Stuart said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “I love what’s going on in our state, and Tupelo is living proof of the good things that are happening in Mississippi.”
Stuart’s tour of Tupelo has three main stops.
First, he’ll unveil a special exhibit at the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau at 10 a.m. Friday, which will also include an Elvis Presley jumpsuit on loan from Elvis Presley Enterprises. That is free and open to the public.
At that same time, his country music memorabilia exhibit, “Sparkle and Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey,” will open at the Tupelo Automobile Museum.
“What you’ll see is some of the absolute greatest treasures of classic country music,” Stuart said, “from Johnny Cash’s first black suit to Hank Williams’ handwritten lyrics to the boots Patsy Cline was wearing when she lost her life. It’s about 20,000 pieces strong.”
At 2 p.m., Stuart will head over to the Auto Museum to sign copies of his book, “Country Music: The Masters.”
“When I first left Mississippi and went on the road, I asked my mom for a camera, and she sent me one to Nashville, and I started taking pictures of everything concerning real country music,” he said. “(The book) is almost 40 years worth of photographs.”
That evening, he’ll perform at the Link Centre. TomFoolery opens at 7:30, followed by Stuart at 8 p.m. His band, the Fabulous Superlatives, won’t join him, as they’ll be on the road.
“It’s just gonna be me, a guitar, a mandolin and a microphone,” he said.
After Stuart’s stop in Tupelo, he has a few tour dates and he’ll get back to work filming “The Marty Stuart Show,” which airs at 7 p.m. Saturdays on RFD-TV.
“We’ve got a lot of cool people coming on the show this season,” he said, including Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Hank Williams III and Ralph Stanley.
Stuart will also put the finishing touches on a new record, “Ghost Train,” that will be released in June.
But for Stuart, all of his work – especially “Sparkle and Twang” – goes back to his roots.
“It started with two records in Neshoba County – a Flatt & Scruggs record and a Johnny Cash record, and a couple of country music magazines,” he said. “I’m really happy I can finally bring it back home to Mississippi.”
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal