Following on from last week’s contribution from my colleague Kimberly Bright and her wonderful choice of Johnny Cash’s version of ‘We’ll Meet Again’, I have chosen to return to the Cash album from which the track appeared ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around’.
Rick Ruben’s pivotal role in resurrecting Cash’s career during the final ten years of his life is now part of musical folklore with his intuitive knack of finding just the right songs by contemporary artists for ‘The Man In Black’ to put his own indelible stamp on. However, it wasn’t only the strength of material that gave those final few album such reverence but also the quality of musicians that Ruben’s gathered together to support the great man and ensure each song had the perfect accompaniment.
Among those illustrious contributors was none other than Marty Stuart, who for many years had been seen as one of the finest guitarists on the country and bluegrass scene, having originally cut his teeth as part of the legendary Lester Flatt’s backing band before joining Cash in 1980. Stuart married Cash’s daughter Cindy in 1983, a union that only lasted five years, before striking out on his own in 1985 with his self-titled debut album immediately achieving success on the Billboard Country Chart.
Today Stuart is seen as one of the finest exponents of his craft on the americana scene having wracked up numerous awards, most recently with his backing band The Fabulous Superlatives that he put together in 2002, and whose most recent album ‘Altitude’ released earlier this year is a serious contender for album of the year.
However, it is back to those early days of his solo career that I wish to return, back to when his country and bluegrass roots sparkled as bright as an empty bottle of bourbon left out in the midday sun. The track I have chosen was the title track to his 1992 album release with the song itself going on to win the CMA.’s ‘Vocal Event of the Year Award’. The track features country singing star Travis Tritt sharing vocal duties and as the accompanying video would appear to demonstrate a lot of fun was had in the recording.