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Marty Stuart

Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions) – 2010 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by C. Eric Banister

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CDs by Marty Stuart

Marty Stuart's new album has been called his love letter to classic country music. Inspired by the music he grew up loving, Stuart set out to show that that music still had vitality. And he more than succeeded. To be sure, the music on this album isn't really any different that of Stuarts' last all-country offering, 2003's "Country Music." Here Stuart returns to his roots and brings along some friends, one of those being his wife Connie Smith, who duets with him on the fantastic Run To You. Another friend is steel guitar player Ralph Mooney, former steel player for Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. His distinctive playing brings an unmistakable sound to the songs such as Little Heartbreaker (The Likes Of You). A special treat is the minute and a half instrumental version of Mooney's hit Crazy Arms.

Recorded in the legendary Studio B, where so many classic and pivotal country records were made, the album sounds like an update of that country sound made famous by Merle Haggard and Porter Wagoner, both of which are paid tribute here, Haggard with Branded and Wagoner with the recitation Porter Wagoner's Grave.

One would be hard-pressed to pick a standout track as there isn't a weak song in the bunch. From hard-driving cover of Don Reno's Country Boy Rock And Roll to the instrumental Hummingbyrd to Hangman, co-written with Johnny Cash just four days before his death, "Ghost Train" fulfills its promise to show that classic country music is alive and well.