Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives @ The Egg 1-30-22 By: Ed Conway
Written by Staff on January 31, 2022
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives @ The Egg 1-30-22
Marty Stuart stopped by The Egg Performing Arts Center’s Hart Theater and brought along his Fabulous Superlatives. It may seem redundant to name a band as the wonderful bests, but if you’ve ever seen them, you would understand, they are both wonderful and the best at what they do. Stuart, backed by Kenny Vaughan on lead guitar, Harry Stinson on drums and Chris Scruggs on upright and electric bass, came ready to play, after a rocky start to the day that left them stranded in a New Jersey Parking lot until 5AM. Apparently, they had a frozen transmission on their tour bus.
Striding out on stage for their 7:30 start time, the Superlatives wearing matching Nudie style suits, and Stuart wearing black and his trademark scarf, they immediately lit into an instrumental “Graveyard.” After the second song, “Country Boy Rock & Roll”, Stuart asked for the house lights to be turned up so he could see the audience, which gave the show more of a backyard jam than a formal concert. Missing from the normal “Country” band set up was a steel guitar, but that was ably handled as both Vaughan and Stuart each sported B-Bender Tele guitar, which enabled the guitarists to bend the B string up a step giving a sound similar to a pedal steel player. During “Matches”, Stuart even brought out an acoustic B-Bender guitar, something I’ve never seen before, but now I want one. For “Sitting Alone”, Vaughan strapped on a 12 string Rickenbacker which, along with the spot on harmonies, gave the song a rather British Invasion sound.
Each of the musicians took turns singing lead on various songs, with Vaughan singing a couple of his tunes, such as “Country Music Got A Hold On Me” and the more rocking, “Hot Like That.” Scruggs took the lead vocal duties on the Bob Wills classic “Brain Cloudy Blues” and Stinson singing the Woody Guthrie tune, “The Ballad Of Pretty Boy Floyd” and the Byrds’, “Ballad Of Easy Rider.”
As the above songs suggest, country music may have been the main theme of the night, they also strayed all over the musical map with a couple of surf tunes, including the most interesting version of “Wipe Out” I’ve ever heard. It featured Scruggs playing the signature riff on the upright bass and Stinson playing the next verse slapping his cheeks while he mouthed the tune. They even hit the rock genre during the Encore with the Count Five garage rock classic “Psychotic Reaction.” Getting toward the end of the main set, the band walked off the stage leaving Stuart alone with his mandolin for the bluegrass classic, “Orange Blossom Special”, before coming back up out for the last song of the set for “Time Don’t Wait.” The Dick Curless classic, “A Tombstone Every Mile” brought back memories of my friend, the late Al Hawkes, the man that started Event Records, who recorded Curliss in the early days.
One of my favorite parts of the night was the story of Roger Miller’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame with Stuart, among a who’s who of stars, including Willy Nelson, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton. As Parton left the rehearsal, Haggard quipped that people look at the wrong parts of her, they should look at her mind. Each in turn talked about how great a business person she is and if one negotiated with her, they would eventually see things her way, and that she was right. It got to be Nelson’s turn, and he wondered if she had any rolling papers. Annnddd…..apparently, she did.
The theater was about half full, possibly due to people still not ready to go out in crowds. Hopefully, this will change sooner, rather than later as the pandemic goes away. It’s such a shame to see a band of this caliber not play to a full house. While their musical prowess on their various instruments may be the first thing anyone may notice, I was focused on their spot on and tight harmonies, filling out the vocals perfectly. I am looking forward to their next visit to our fair nook of the world.