Marty Stuart’s ‘Ghost Train’ Rolls Out of Iconic Nashville Studio
Marty Stuart remembers his first time in RCA's Studio B very well. He was 13 and doing his first recording session in Nashville with the legendary Lester Flatt in the same studio where Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, Charley Pride and Dolly Parton recorded many of their hits. Nearly four decades later, Marty previewed his new album, 'Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions,' in essence bringing his career full circle. As the name implies, the project was recorded in Studio B.
"I was playing mandolin and I remember Lester walking over and saying, 'Why don't you handle the kick-off on this one?'," Marty says of his first recording in Music City. While standing in the room and listening to the playback of his album with the invited guests, many memories and thoughts were rushing through his head. "The main thing I was thinking while listening was that once again I got to follow my dream," Marty tells The Boot. "Consequently I recorded some great country songs, and the whole album rang true to me."
'Ghost Train' includes a few covers, along with tunes Marty either wrote or co-wrote. He admits that he's currently inspired by traditional country music, which was a huge influence on the album. From the classic Warner Mack song, 'Bridge Washed Out' to his own 'Drifting Apart' and the chilling 'Hangman,' co-written with the late Johnny Cash, Marty has pulled together an album that recalls the history of country music he loves so well while bringing it current day. His songwriting shines on tunes such as 'Porter Wagoner's Grave,' which has a guy down on his luck finding redemption while contemplating his lot on Porter's final resting place. There's also a salute to the 'Hard Working Man,' which chronicles the economic upheaval affecting so much of America today.
Marty showcases the love of his life, Connie Smith, on a tune the husband/wife team co-wrote, 'I Run To You.' He also features Ralph Mooney on steel guitar, reprising his famous licks on 'Crazy Arms,' a tune made famous by Ray Price. There are a few other instrumentals, including the Marty-penned 'Hummingbird' and 'Mississippi Railroad Blues,' which showcase Marty's band, the Fabulous Superlatives, and a few special guests.
The country music historian says recording at Studio B was a natural move for him. "This place has has a profound pedigree; it's where so much of American music's legacy was forged, certainly country music's. And sonically, this is a room that welcomes music. It seemed to me that in order to authentically stage a brand new traditional country music record, we should bring it home to Studio B."
While the studio is now a part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Marty got permission from them to record, and says it was an honor for him to return to the scene of his first Nashville recording session. "I'm always on the prowl for the kinds of recordings that can inspire and potentially make a difference," Marty says of the songs on the new project. "Traditional country music is the music I cherish; it's the bedrock upon which the empire of country music is built, the empowering force that provides this genre with listing credibility. It's beyond trends and its timeless."
'Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions' will be released on August 24.