Mississippi Music Revival: Marty Stuart and Paul Thorn

Sometimes you walk away from a show with so much more than just a song in your head. And that was certainly the case for me after the Americana Fest show I watched at 3rd and Lindsley last night.

Let me first say that I’ve never had the opportunity to see Mississippi natives Marty Stuart and Paul Thorn live before, and I got a whole lot more than I bargained for!
 
Marty Stuart took the stage in true country gentleman form, dressed in black from head to toe, sporting his signature scarf, electric hair and leather pants. Immediately the air suddenly lightened, infused with Marty. His band, the Fabulous Superlatives, was decked out in glittery Manuel-style powder-blue polyester suits. I knew it was going to be something special.
 
Marty rolled through traditional country songs and gospel tunes with the ease and swagger of a true master performer. He was present in each note, and his spirit seeped into every nook of the room. I have never seen a performer reach out to individuals so personally as he did from the stage. Marty’s set had movement in it, and swells of pure musical genius. In one moment I was being carried away by angels to the sky, in the next I was deep in the Delta watching the devil’s fire burn from his fingers. Its no accident Stuart’s new album is titled “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning."



One clear highlight for me was watching Marty and his sweetheart, country queen Connie Smith, singing the Haggard tune “Today I Started Loving You Again."



It was neat to witness the skill at which Marty shifted the energy and focus on stage to each of his multi-talented band members during the show. More than that, he gave them the spotlight! Apostle Paul Martin (bass) and Cousin Kenny Vaughn (guitar) each sang a tune solo---and Harry Stinson (drums) nailed some fine falsetto lines during “Angels Rock Me to Sleep.”
 
To say I loved and learned a lot from Marty as a performer is an understatement! But, as we all know, there is more than one way to skin a cat…and Paul Thorn had a style all his own.
 
Taking the stage at midnight is no easy task, but Paul exuded a charismatic guy-next-door coolness that was irresistible. His band was like a tightly woven sweater that you just slip on, the musicianship was top-notch, but the vibe was back-porch pickin’ comfortable. And the live room mix that Billy whipped up was FANTASTIC.
 
Paul’s energy flowed into the room, then back on stage, and back again. It was a conversation with music and had a butterfly quality that was difficult to totally catch. Paul was once a boxer, and he performs like one--- a hook and jab here and there, light on his feet. All I know is that I wanted to hear more, more, more!
 
Paul’s lovable and endearing story-telling introductions were full of dry wit, and his songs were killer. It’s a rare writer who can inspire you with a sing-along tune “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” and then hit your gut with a song about addition like “Old Stray Dog” or lowering standards in “Mediocrity is King."



For his encore tune Paul came off the stage into the crowd and sang “Take My Love” while dancing with and hugging his fans. He was a musical minister who wanted to be totally with his people. And we all loved it!
 
On a Thursday night in Nashville, I went to a Mississippi Music Revival and walked away a fully converted lifelong fan for two very different but equally gifted artists. A heartfelt Southern thank you Marty Stuart and Paul Thorn for being the people and performers you are!
 
Can I get an AMEN?!?
 

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