Country Music

Though record sales and airplay have not always reflected it, Marty Stuart has released some of the most stylish and creative country albums of the past decade.

Though record sales and airplay have not always reflected it, Marty Stuart has released some of the most stylish and creative country albums of the past decade. Throughout, he has managed to blend a respect for tradition with a healthy dose of hip—seasoned with killer fretwork. Stuart's first Columbia release may top 'em all, beginning with a hard-charging reworking of the chestnut "Satisfied Mind" and including such reverb-drenched cuts as "Fool for Love," "If You Wanted Me Around" and "Here I Am." "If There Ain't There Ought'a Be" and "By George" are too cool for words, and the steel-laden "Sundown on Nashville" offers honest perspective where others have taken shots. The spare "Farmer's Blues" (with Merle Haggard) is a gem, and "Tip Your Hat" (with Josh Graves and Earl Scruggs) is a goose-bump-inducing tribute to the country teachers. A reverent take on Johnny Cash's "Walls of a Prison" wraps up one magnificent record. This is country music.—RW