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Today is May 23, 2022

A country music collection: Welcome to the world of Marty Stuart

THE MARTY STUART FILE

By Steven Ward

A country music collection: Welcome to the world of Marty Stuart

Country music luminary Marty Stuart is a storyteller.

Whether he’s singing a song he wrote or interpreting another songwriter’s vision, Stuart knows how to tell a story musically.

The Philadelphia, Mississippi native tells country music stories in another way as well — he collects them.

For years, Stuart has collected memorabilia that tells the story of country music’s history.

On May 7, an exhibition of Stuart’s country music artifacts will be open to the public at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson. “The World of Marty Stuart” will be on display through Dec. 31.

“The World of Marty Stuart” explores Stuart’s life and legacy and includes hundreds of items never shown before in Mississippi, including Stuart’s first guitar, original handwritten Hank Williams manuscripts, guitars from Merle Haggard and Pops Staples, costumes from Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, personal items from Johnny Cash, including his first black performance suit, among other items.

    During a news conference announcing the museum event, Stuart said country music became an important part of his life during the summer of 1964 in his home county of Neshoba, where three civil rights workers were murdered.

“It was the first time that I really knew what the power of music could do. There was so much tension during that time and the music brought relief to that tension on Saturday afternoons when I would watch “The Porter Wagoner Show.” Music was an oak tree in my life,” Stuart said.

Stuart’s country music collection began in earnest after, in the early 1980s, he found a Patsy Cline train case on sale in a pawn shop for $75.

“Then it all got out of hand,” Stuart said laughing.

Stuart, who moved back to Mississippi 20 years ago, said the state is a place with a “musical legacy like no other place on Earth.”

Stuart is also working on opening a country music museum in his hometown of Philadelphia. The Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music will celebrate the rich cultural heritage of country music through live musical performance and educational programming. The tribute to the culture and rural ethics of America will be presented in a world-class country music museum and performing arts center, according to congressofcountrymusic.org.

“It’s been incredible to work on this exhibit with Marty Stuart, a true pioneer in the preservation of country music history,” said Shane Keil, Mississippi Department of Archives and History director of curatorial services. “The exhibit not only showcases Stuart’s phenomenal artifact collection but highlights his journey to country music stardom. Visitors will see the role and influence of his small-town Mississippi upbringing that took him to the world stage and ultimately has brought him
back home.”

“The World of Marty Stuart” is sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, AT&T, and Visit Mississippi.

To celebrate the launch of the exhibit, MDAH will host the inaugural Mississippi Makers Fest May 7 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. North Mississippi Allstars will headline the all-day music festival. Other performers include Mr. Sipp, Framing the Red, Chapel Hart, and others. Entergy Plaza at the museums will be packed with dozens of art and food vendors for this free event dedicated to celebrating Mississippi creativity in all forms.

 

For more information about
“The World of Marty Stuart” exhibit, visit mdah.ms.gov

 

THE MARTY STUART FILE

Hometown: Philadelphia, Mississippi

Age: 63

Main Guitar: Fender Telecaster

Career Start: 1968

Awards/Accolades: Member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, five-time Grammy winner, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Americana Music Association, platinum recording artist, and Grand Ole Opry star.

Timeline: He spent his teenage years on tour with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt in the 1970s. He spent six years in Johnny Cash’s band in the 1980s and became a solo artist in the 1990s.

Current Band: Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives. 

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