Fabulous By Name and Fabulous on Stage: Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives Plus Guests at The Long Road

Musicians on stage performing at the long road festival. A red headed female guitarist and vocalist and two male guitarists are performing

Photo by Philippa Myall-Chance on behalf of Belles and Gals

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives have long enjoyed a reputation as one of the most exciting live acts in the world of country music. Their headline closing set on Saturday night at The Long Road festival on the main Rhinestone Stage fully lived up to this reputation.

Moved up from second on the bill to headlining due to the cancellation of Chris Young and his band, Stuart and his band played a crowd-pleasing set. It would be more accurate to describe their set as a show – for they do indeed put on a great show.

Stuart himself looks like the archetypal country star – with extravagant suit, and bouffant hair, setting the stage even before the first note is sounded.

A veteran of the country music scene, with stints as guitarist for Johnny Cash and Lester Flatt, his solo career was launched in 1985, with highlights including Grammy awards for “The Whiskey Ain’t Working” with Travis Tritt, best country collaboration with vocals for “The Same Old Train” (with other artists), and best country instrumental performance for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”, the last of these in 2001.

Since 2002 Stuart has toured and recorded with his band The Fabulous Superlatives, and their name in no way overstates their musical talents, individually and collectively. His cousin Kenny Vaughan on guitar, and Harry Stinson on drums have been in the lineup from those early days, while Chris Scruggs has played bass with the Superlatives since 2015.

Their set covered the full range of Stuarts career, and also featured notable guest appearances, from Kezia Gill on “These Boots Were Made for Walking”, Andrew Coombs on his own composition “Too Stoned to Cry” (which he introduced as the song his mother hates the most!), and Sunny Sweeney on “Good Hearted Woman”.

Stuart’s time with Johnny Cash featured in his cover of “Ring of Fire”, while his collaboration with Asleep at the Wheel was reflected in “Brain Cloudy Blues”, a Bob Wills cover.

Each of the other band members also sang lead vocals on a couple of songs, with drummer Harry Stinson contributing his trademark extraordinary extended single note vocal – still counting at 30 seconds!

There were simply too many highlights to the set to name them all, the opening and closing parts of the show included some rocking country favourites, including “Turn the Woodpile Down” and “Tempted”, with “Time Don’t Wait” perhaps his best loved song from his last couple of releases, closing the show, with an encore of “Hillbilly Rock”, before the final gentler closer to the evening of “The Angels Came Down For Me”.

What a night!

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