Marty Stuart: Philadelphia to Nashville, Part 1

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

Newscenter 11 recently had an opportunity to visit with country superstar Marty Stuart in Nashville, where the Philadelphia native is helping to put the spotlight on traditional country music and its origins in east Mississippi.

"Growing up in Philadelphia, it was normal life, you know? I'd go to football games. I wasn't very good at sports. It wasn't in my heart," said Stuart. "I would get in the middle of a game and I'd start thinking about a guitar lick and I'd just leave. Ha! All I truly wanted to do was come to Nashville and be a part of what was going on here."

Stuart grew up in a house on Old Highway 19 in Philadelphia. As a child he played on the nearby railroad tracks with friends.

He got one of his first experiences with music at the Busy Bee Cafe, where he decided he wanted to be a colorful character, just like the people he saw there.

"Oddly enough, the first two records I ever owned in my life were a Flatt & Scruggs record and a Johnny Cash record," said Stuart. "And that was the only two jobs I ever had. I came up here for a weekend and got a job."

That's right. On his first trip to Nashville, he landed a job with Flatt & Scruggs. In my discussion with him, Stuart remembered that first trip to Nashville.

"I got off the Greyhound Bus at like 2 in the morning and thought 'remember where you came from because it's important that you can always go back there'," he said.

And Stuart says Philadelphia, Miss., is still his favorite place in the world.

"I did not leave home because I didn't like it or anything like that," Stuart said. "I simply came up here for a weekend and was offered the job of a lifetime. WSM Radio has like a 50,000 watt signal, and it was like it was going 'Marty, Marty, come be a part of this'."

Stuart comes back to help keep east Mississippi's musical heritage alive.

Philadelphia honors him with an exhibit in the Neshoba County History Museum and is in the early planning stages with community leaders to construct a country music museum with his name on it. The opening date of the museum is not yet known.

Stuart also has a marker on the Mississippi Country Music Trail, proudly displayed in downtown Philadelphia.

In Part 2, we'll put you on the front row of the Marty Stuart Show in Nashville, as we talk with him about his role in the music industry.


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