Marty Stuart was just described in Rolling Stone as “one of the last remaining links to traditional country, roots music and the generation of greats like George Jones and Hank Williams.” Stuart is a songwriter, singer, guitarist and mandolin player who has had gold and platinum records and won five Grammys, but then moved away from commercial country to get back to his and the music’s roots.
He first went on the road when he was 13, as a member of Lester Flatt’s band, then became a member of Johnny Cash’s back up band. He went solo in the late 80s. Stuart has a huge collection of country music artifacts and memorabilia. Through his own photography, he’s documented country performers and their fans. He currently has an exhibit of his photos at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville.
In today’s interview he talks about the last photo he ever took of his neighbor, Johnny Cash:
"I was over at his house and I … had just been to Folsom, California. I had been given a gate pass to go to the prison to see where he made his Folsom Prison album, and at that point I was just looking for anything to talk to him about—we recorded, we talked, just anything to keep him entertained because June had recently passed away. So I went next door to have a cup of coffee and just share with him my impressions of Folsom Prison. …
I started a song and I took it next door to John, and we actually wrote this song called Hangman that we did on a record called Ghost Train, and it was the last song that he ever wrote. We just finished this song together. And he was sitting there in his chair looking so pretty in the light, the late afternoon light was coming in from behind and I said, “JR, let me take your picture.” I knew he didn’t want to, but he let me. There were three frames. In the first two he just kinda looked tired and weary, but on the third frame I said, “JR!” and he sat up straight and pulled on that black collar and he became Johnny Cash. … Four days later he was gone.
Photo by Marty Stuart of Johnny Cash from Marty Stuart’s photography book, American Ballads.
Piece I wrote about fall beers for the @dailycollegiannews: Fall Into Beer: A Seasonal Selection.
Wrote this review for wmua about The Drums new album.
Album Review: The Drums –– Encyclopedia
It’s been a little over three years since Brooklyn-based The Drums released their sophomore effort, Portamento (2011). Fans have waited with bated breath, especially after considerable gossip of the band nearing their end following the release of lead singer Jonny Pierce’s solo album. Fear not, for their new album, Encyclopedia, will open your ears to a newfound darker––if not erratic––side of The Drums.
The duo, comprised of multi-instrumentalists Jonny Pierce and Jacob Graham, pull from their many talents to provide a vast spectrum of sounds for their new record. Opener “Magic Mountain” comes like a bat out of hell and arguably sets the tone for much of the album to come. Here, Pierce’s howling vocals are a far cry from his usual cadence, which on previous albums was more akin to a mash up of Morrissey and Robert Smith. Now, especially on tracks like “Break My Heart,” his vocals are comparable to that of the highs and lows of MGMT’s Andrew Vanwyngarden.
Alternating between chaotic synthesized numbers and melodic trances, Graham and Pierce are able to transition between up-tempo tracks like “Face of God” and dream pop numbers like “U.S. National Park” with ease. These switches in their time signature make for an interesting and engaging listen.
While still keeping in line with their reverb-drenched signature sound, The Drums have now also indulged in their virtuoso roots to make the sound of Encyclopedia more full and captivating. This is showcased perfectly in “Deep In My Heart,” which has a trendy, ’90s-esque feel to it, complete with lovelorn lyrics and pleading vocals.
Form the turmoil that occurred following founding member Connor Hanwick’s departure after Portamento was released, there was sustained tension between Pierce and Graham. Not knowing if The Drums would ever come back from their unannounced hiatus, it’s safe to say that Encyclopedia is their cathartic release from this tumultuous lapse.
-Tracy Troisi, WMUA 91.1
Image: “Encyclopedia” (SPIN)
Live in Concert: Ray LaMontagne at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion (w/Jason Isbell & The Belle Brigade) in Boston (5/31)
Win 2 Tickets to see Ray LaMontagne at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion (w/Jason Isbell & The Belle Brigade) in Boston, MA on 5/31