Marty Stuart is giving fans an early listen to his upcoming 20-song acoustic album, Songs I Sing in the Dark, via a cover of Crystal Gayle’s 1978 No. 1 hit “Ready For The Times To Get Better,” penned by Allen Reynolds.
“The title says it all,” he says of the album. “What that really means is these are just songs I sing to myself, just entertain myself at the end of the day a lot of times—obscure songs, old favorites, just to kind of keep the dust knocked off of them and remember them…and it’s a great way to explore new material I’ve written,” he said. “When country music does it’s job, it truly is a reflection of the human condition in the world in which we live and I think every soul on planet earth is ready for times to get better.”
Stuart’s career in music started early; by age 13, he was on the road, touring as a mandolin player in bluegrass legend Lester Flatt’s band. Stuart went on to tour with Vassar Clement’s Hillbilly Jazz band, Doc Watson, and spent several years in Johnny Cash’s touring band.
In 1989, after releasing a few albums for labels including Sugar Hill and Columbia, Stuart joined MCA and released a collection of revved up country-rock tunes for his project Hillbilly Rock in 1989. The title track became a Top 10 hit, and he followed it with songs including “Little Things” and “Tempted.”
In 1991, he teamed up with Travis Tritt to release “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’,” which earned them a Grammy award. In 1992, they collaborated again on the Top 10 hit “This One’s Gonna Hurt You (For A Long, Long Time).” From 1994-1996, Stuart earned a few more Top 30 hits such as “Kiss Me, I’m Gone” and “”You Can’t Stop Love,” though many of his releases failed to replicate his earlier chart success. In 1999, he released the concept album The Pilgrim, and welcomed collaborators including Cash, Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley and Earl Scruggs. After exiting MCA in 2000, he rejoined Columbia and released Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives.
He later formed his own label, and continued releasing albums guided more by artistic excellence than simply chasing chart success. He released another concept album aimed at honoring Native American history, titled Badlands: Ballads of the Lakota, and later Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions. His upcoming album follows his 2017 release, Way Out West.
Last year, the Country Music Association revealed Stuart, Hank Williams, Jr. and songwriter Dean Dillon, as the latest Country Music Hall of Fame member inductees.