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Marty Stuart

Way Out West – 2017 (Superlatone)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Marty Stuart

Marty Stuart's "Way Out West" is, in part, his tribute to the music of California. The title cut gets straight to the point with a psychedelic journey song, which is as much a warning against drug abuse as it is a physical trip to the golden state. "Time Don't Wait" alludes to much of the garage rock that came out of California '60s, and more specifically points back to The Byrds' heyday with its glorious jangling Rickenbacker guitar part.

Heartbreakers band member Mike Campbell, who knows a thing or two about recent Southern California rock history, produced and helped Stuart achieve the project's unique authenticity. In a couple of places, Stuart touches upon SoCal's surf rock legacy. "Mojave" may have a dry desert title, but its staccato notes also conjure up visions of riding pipelines along California's coast. Another instrumental, "Quicksand," sonically references Link Wray's "Rumble."

It's rare to come across a concept album like this one, and rarer still in country music. Stuart gets it right, though, by touching upon many of the elements that have made California music so influential. It's an album that could have easily been extended to twice its size. In fact, it's an album you may wish would never end.