Marty Stuart

Soul's Chapel – 2005 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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In a Nashville awash in cookie-cutter country, there are still artists out there like Marty Stuart who push boundaries and make great music in the process. This is a gospel album, but with a band that includes Kenny Vaughn and Harry Stinson, you know that there will be plenty of rocking along with the religion. A tribute to deep southern gospel, the disc covers a lot of stylistic ground, from the hymn-like harmonies of "Somebody Saved Me" to a pair of Pops Staples tunes, and even one, "Slow Train," from famed session men Steve Cropper and William Bell.

This is the first in a trio of albums from Stuart that will touch on various aspects of southern culture, including a live bluegrass disc and a Native American tribute. Like the whip-em-into-a-frenzy sermons from the southern preachers that these songs evoke, however, this one will be a hard act to follow.