Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
Nashville, Volume 1: Tear the Woodpile Down
Sugar Hill Records
3.5 stars (out of 5)
By Aaron Keith Harris
The Marty Stuart Show on RFD-TV is one of the few havens for good music of any sort on television these days, as the multifariously talented and ever-genial Stuart, along with His Fabulous Superlatives—Kenny Vaughan (guitars), Harry Stinson (drums) and Paul Martin (bass)—create a genuine sense of fun with their love for, and mastery of, country music.
This ten-track disc captures some of that fun, but not all of it. The 32 minutes spent with this aptly named band are like having a couple of drinks in a bar on Broadway where the band happens to be really good, but you won’t be thinking about it the next day.
“Tear the Woodpile Down” has the boys at their best, with a driving rhythm and bumblebee Telecasters buzzing everywhere, and “Sundown in Nashville” perfectly evokes the heartbreak that so many wannabes must feel every night in that town of half-met dreams.
“Hollywood Boogie” is a Tele tour-de-force which should get some Grammy attention for best country instrumental performance.
But the rest of the material is merely good, played and sung expertly, but without that spark and smirk that Marty can bring to the performance.
“Pictures from Life’s Other Side,” with Hank III joining Marty on one of the Hillbilly Shakespeare’s maudlin sermons, falls just a little flat too. For two of country’s hardest rockers not to rip their way through one of Hank’s hard-edged numbers is a missed opportunity.
Perhaps on record where his natural charm isn’t as prominent, Stuart would do well to employ a co-producer that would press him toward some riskier choices that, more than anyone in Nashville I can think of, he’d be capable of conquering.