Stuart releases "The Pilgrim" as a book

Monday, January 20, 2020 – Marty Stuart will release "The Pilgrim: A Wall-to-Wall Odyssey," an illustrated tabletop book (with CD) that details the making of his record "The Pilgrim."

"The Pilgrim project was the first step in a journey that led me to the outer edge of the awakenings of my true musical heart and soul," said Stuart. "It's an album that's close to my heart and one that explores a true story of an unbelievable romance that unfolded in my hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. when I was a kid. It's a story of the power of love to overcome life's darkest moments. The story that's told in "The Pilgrim" and my own story of how the project came to be and continues to shape me, makes my heart swell. When thinking about when I wanted to share this book with the wider world, I couldn't think of a better time than Valentine's Day."

"The Pilgrim," Stuart's 10th studio album, was originally released in 1999. The concept project - based on true events that transpired in his hometown - was a turning point for Stuart. But the release was not a commercial success at the time.

Originally available in limited release during the 20th anniversary celebration of the album in the fall, "The Pilgrim" book is now available as a wide-release title via BMG, which began publishing music-related books in 2017. Included in "The Pilgrim: A Wall-to-Wall Odyssey" is a newly remastered CD of the original album, along with ten bonus tracks that feature guest performances by Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Uncle Josh Graves, Earl Scruggs and Stuart's wife, singer Connie Smith.

"While I was developing 'The Pilgrim'," Stuart said, "I sought vision. I made a number of trips to visit and play music with people I love and admire, whom I consider to be divine sources of inspiration. I looked for wisdom at every turn while continuing to gather the courage to follow my heart into the unknown." That journey is chronicled in the pages of the book, which feature intimate photographs of Marty making music with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Bill Monroe, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard,B.B. King, The Staple Singers, Tom Petty, John Lee Hooker, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, George Jones and Dolly Parton.

A celebrated photographer in his own right, Stuart himself captured the truck stops, county fairs, gospel singers, backwoods circus performers, South Dakota Native American Indians, and eclectic cast of characters - both obscure and well-known - that he encountered.

"The Pilgrim" is based on a true story of a weary traveler who went on a pilgrimage of his own after an episode of shocking violence separated him from the woman he loved. He was determined to end his own life, but the power of true love brought him back from the brink of personal hell and back into the arms of the woman who would become his lifelong partner. Adapting the tale for his ground-breaking concept album, Stuart offers unparalleled insight into his artistic process through handwritten lyrics, detailed notes on the songs, the inspiration that fueled his studio sessions, and even photos of the instruments used on the album.

"Going into my archives to search out Pilgrim-related material for this release was like reaching into a dusty old treasure chest," Stuart said. "I found songs that I'd written and forgotten, photographs I never got around to looking at, unfinished recordings from 'The Pilgrim' sessions, and a string of archival recordings ... So many life lessons were offered in the creative process of making 'The Pilgrim.' Perhaps the toughest of them all was letting go when the record was considered unsuccessful. However, in letting go, I learned that some things do, in fact, come back around."

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