Marty Stuart Announces New Cosmic Country Album “Altitude”

photo: Alysse Gafkjen

There may not be any other artist in the last decade or more who has more actively participated in the effort to save country music than Marty Stuart. From his preservation efforts through his forthcoming Congress of Country Music, to his collaborative efforts with other artists, to his own original music, Marty Stuart embodies everything about preserving the true roots of country music as a self-described radical preservationist.

That doesn’t mean that Marty Stuart is a fuddy-duddy stuck-in-the-mud tired country traditionalist thumping on the Bible of Johnny Cash. On the contrary, Stuart pulls from country music’s wide array of influences and lineages with his music. That’s exactly what Marty and his superb backing band The Fabulous Superlatives will be looking to do once again when they release their new cosmic country-inspired album Altitude on May 19th.

Picking up where Marty’s last album Way Out West released in 2017 left off, Altitude will explore the foray of The Byrd’s into country music through their album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. It was during Marty’s Stuart’s stint supporting surviving Byrds members and co-founders Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman on their 50th Anniversary tour of the album that Marty Stuart found his inspiration for Altitude.

“I bought my first copy of Sweetheart Of The Rodeo for $2.99 at the discount bin in a shopping mall record store in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, and it became the blueprint for my musical life,” says Stuart. “Revisiting it on the road with Roger and Chris put me back under its spell all over again. I was writing songs in dressing rooms and soundchecks and on the bus, and then one day, I looked up and there was enough to make an album.”

Looking through the track list (see below), and seeing tracks titled “Lost Byrd Space Train (Scene 1), (Scene 2) and (Epilogue)”, you can expect this new project to be thematic, if not conceptualized.

“I’ve always loved songs that feel like old friends but still sound new and fresh,” says Stuart. “The beautiful thing about country music is that the blueprint Jimmie Rodgers laid down—rambling, gambling, sin, redemption, Heaven, Hell—it’s all just as relevant now as it ever was. It’s the human condition, and if you’re honest about it and you’ve got a real band around you, you can make something that’s uniquely yours and stands the test of time.”

Stuart released the song “Country Star” a couple of months back. It was the first taste of music after Marty Stuart signed with the European-based Snakefarm Records in 2022 and proclaimed he had multiple albums in the can. Stuart has also just released the title track of the new album to coincide with the announcement (listen below). As can be heard with both songs, no matter what the influence on Marty Stuart may be, the results will always be country.

I’ve been quoted as saying the most outlaw thing you can possibly do in Nashville, TN, these days is to play country music. It can be done,” Stuart says. “On ‘Altitude,’ there’s twin fiddles, steel guitar, and the legendary Pig Robbins playing piano on what turned out to be one of his last recording sessions. The song is a reminder to me, and to anyone else still interested, that there’s a few of us out here who still know how to make authentic country music. I have an absolute belief that there’s a world of people out there who still love it, as my wife Connie Smith says it’s the ‘cry of the heart,’ Harlan Howard said ‘it’s’ three chords and the truth’ – that’s country music.”

Marty Stuart wrote all of the songs for the album. Marty and His Fabulous Superlatives “Handsome” Harry Stinson (drums), “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan (guitar), Chris Scruggs (bass), and engineer Mick Conley are all credited as producers.

Altitude is now available for pre-order.

TRACK LIST:

1) Lost Byrd Space Train (Scene 1)
2) Country Star
3) Sitting Alone
4) A Friend Of Mine
5) Space
6) Altitude
7) Vegas
8) The Sun Is Quietly Sleeping
9) Lost Byrd Space Train (Scene 2)
10) Night Riding
11) Tomahawk
12) Time To Dance
13) The Angels Came Down
14) Lost Byrd Space Train (Epilogue)

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