One of the hardest working names in showbusiness – and a lifelong devotee of country music – Marty Stuart put out his 18th studio album, Way Out West, earlier this year.
An ode to the state of California and its music (the Bakersfield Sound, surf guitar, etc.), the record was produced by Mike Campbell, guitarist with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and was highly acclaimed upon its release.
Marty, 58, is currently on tour in the US and next month will undertake a short tour of the UK and Ireland – his first visit to that part of the world since March when he performed at the C2C Festival. He laughs when asked what he's been up to of late. "Same thing I've been doing for 45 years! Play music, go to bed, get up, play music…"
Commenting on his appearance at C2C, Marty notes: "It had been a while since I'd been there [to the UK]. Things can change so fast and I knew that the look and the sound and the feel of country music had probably changed.
"It had a lot of contemporary fans who had probably never heard of Johnny Cash, other than seeing a Johnny Cash t-shirt or something. I was interested to see how it worked, but it worked out fine and I think everybody responded to what we did in a very favourable light.
"Before we left the arena in London that night, we were invited to come back and do the tour this fall. I was glad, so here we come!"
In recent years, traditional country music seems to have made a bit of a comeback, thanks to artists like William Michael Morgan and Mo Pitney. The Mississippi-born star agrees. "I think Chris Stapleton moved the meter," he suggests, "and Mo – and I still like the songs that Brandy Clark writes, Old Crow Medicine Show…
"There is an absolute heartbeat on the roots of country music over here, and I don't think that will ever go away. It always gets a little overshadowed by pop culture and stadium acts, but what keeps it alive and what keeps the culture valid, in my opinion, are the roots efforts. I think it's alive and well."
Marty reveals that he loves "every single note" of Way Out West and that, for him, the album has a very "cinematic and adventurous quality" about it. Asked if he and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, have started work on a follow-up, he replies: "Yeah, we're about 14 songs in on a hillbilly surf band record! And it's really good.
"Kenny Vaughan [guitarist in the Fabulous Superlatives] and I were talking saying it needs to be the kind of record that the London Philharmonic could play, whereas at the same time it needs to be the kind of record a 14-year-old kid who just got his first Fender guitar could go in his bedroom and play along with too.
"When I was a kid and Kenny was a kid, we were learning from The Shadows and The Ventures and Dick Dale, so it's that kind of stuff. It still sounds fresh and relevant, and it makes people smile."
For more information on Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives visit the official website
Find Marty Stuart on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Purchase the music HERE