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Marty Stuart at McPhillips Street Station, Winnipeg


Review – Marty Stuart at McPhillips Street Station, Winnipeg, Aug. 4 2009

-review by Eugene Osudar/photos by Ailsa Dyson

On The Cool

Marty Stuart/
Johnny Cash/

August 4th,
a Cool Wednesday night
McPhillips Street Station

i don’t care if you’re
considered to be The Cool
The Hip
The One to be
next to,

The Cool
is here, now


in a casino
in Winnipeg
the droning
dirge of white out
mind numbing
covering the slot
the losses
the wrinkles,
the frowns
of sad-faced clowns
getting Busted
to the gambling
house bosses
and once in a small
while, pay-outs
to keep you happy,
Eternal Losers,
of a big pay-off
some day soon,
the 35 million dollar
lottery jack-
pot swoon

(i bought my 15 million
to 1 shot, too)

there’s a man in black
his name is Marty Stuart
and he played guitar
in a band with another
Man In Black
Johnny Cash

but you know this already,


get a little cool
into your music listening life
a little
La Tingo Tango

sounds like something
from a Quentin Tarantino

it’s That Cool

and so is
Marty Stuart
and The Superlatives

he’s the man in black
they’re in shiny blue
powdery too

Cousin Kenny Vaughan
wears a dark
cowboy hat
on guitar

(he’s played with Hayes Carll,
Lucinda Williams, Rodney Crowell,
is that Cool enough for
you, hipsters?)


Kenny trades hot riffs
and sizzling licks
with Marty, who plays it all
Hot, and Cool,
electric, acoustic, mandolin

just like when Marty goes on a Mando(lin)
Rip (it reads on the set list)
and shatters us
the audience
we’re hot to it, too
in the full blast furnace fire
The Cool
The Man In Black

one hour fifty minutes
25 songs

the first two
didn’t thrill me
(to be honest),
they’re welcoming songs,
songs to prepare us
for the layers
and gears to come,
shift after shift
we’re riding on
the bus
touring with the guys in the band,
country music history,

Country Death Songs
Story Songs
End of Relationship Songs
Gospel Songs
Bluegrass Songs
Johnny Cash Songs
Hillbilly Songs
Marty Stuart and the
Superlative Songs

there’s the Apostle Paul Martin
on bass, electric and some upright
beautiful voice too
he’s played it and sung it
with the Oakridge Boys

and Handsome Harry Stinson
on cool drums
stand up snare too
another soulful singer
he’s played it
with Steve Earle,
Now, That Is Cool!
his drums on Guitar Town

after that second song,

when Marty jokes,

“we’ve been on tour since 1972.”

and he asks,

“are you ready for some Hillbilly music?”

it’s on
song after song

story songs
the songs that make country

like the Long Black Veil
that Johnny Cash
smashed us with
shattered us
a big jackpot
of pieces

even more haunting
and poignant
in that Marty
tells us later the story
of Dark Bird

how he wanted to write a song for Johnny
after his passing
and couldn’t
they were neighbors
like father, like son

how Roy Orbison lived
between them, until
a tragic house fire took away
Roy’s two sons
and Johnny bought the property
promising Roy not to build on the land


Johnny Cash planted trees
fruit trees
that black crows

and there,

in those “crazy birds
dressed in black”

Marty found his inspiration

his elegy

for his Johnny Cash
Love song

Dark Bird

in the fruit trees
a black crow
that flies through
a cloud of love
and emerges a dove
a beautiful white bird

now, that is a country
love story
and beautiful poetry
set to elegant music

that’s The Cool
The Love
The Heart
of Marty Stuart

and those are my tears

the set,

Glad To Be Here
Country Boy Rock n Roll
The Whiskey Ain’t Working
La Tingo Tango
Long Black Veil
Luther Played
Lonesome Whistle Blues
Country Music
Bluegrass Express
Hey Baby
Drifting Apart
Trip To Little Big Horn
Dark Bird
Mando(lin) Rip
Working On a Building
Talk With Jesus
Angels Rock Me
Choctaw Fair
Hillbilly Rock


not listed on the set list
i’m guessing song titles,

Marty asked for requests
and heard from scores of voices
and chose these,

There’s a Bottle On The Table
(to help me understand how a love
could go so wrong)

(This One’s Going to Hurt You)
A Long, Long Time

Baby, Touch Me
Turn Me On
and Burn Me Down!

and finally, an instrumental
to sweep us,

giddy, excited
talking to strangers
and friends alike
about what an amazing
show we had just

(Marty and The Superlatives
found their Witnesses!)

to the archway
we testified,

our love
for the country cool men
in black and in blue
Marty and The Superlatives

they signed everything
put in front of them
(and posed with everyone
who wanted a photograph)
by everyone
who lined up
after the show.

and, this reminded me of the last
and only time i saw Harry Chapin
he stayed so late
arriving late
and signed everything
shook every hand

just like Marty and The Superlatives
but that’s Country Musicians


Harry Chapin died
a few months later…

when you see The Cool
you need to celebrate
The Cool
and say, Thank You.

Marty jokes about his Georgia friend
Travis Tritt
how if we don’t like the show
write Travis for a refund

no refunds
no messages
to Travis Tritt

Tempted feels like a Buddy Holly
song and that is So Very
Country Pop Cool
it chills and thrills me
gorgeous song

Long Black Veil
had me in tears
wind, ghost
Lover in the cemetery
it;’s all dark
in the lonely night
with your best friend’s
taking your love to the grave
cuz you’re guilty
of a most terrible crime

Lonesome Whistle
railroad howl whistle
their ghostly voices
harmonizing awing
country death song

during Kenny’s turn to sing
Country Music’s Got a Hold On Me
a country rave stomper

i’m watching Marty
so relaxed
moving, swinging
on a star
through the beats
and i’m seeing it
The Authentic Cool
of Johnny Cash

that’s Exactly how Marty moves
just like Johnny Cash
and that’s something of The Cool
Marty learned from
The Man In Black
playing all those years
the epitome of The Cool

Apostle Paul’s turn to Sing
is The Bluegrass Express
another amazing
train song harmony
howl wondrous wail

Hey Baby
glorious guitar opening
and another
Buddy Holly
reminding song
Now That Is So Cool

if there’s is a count on
in this poetic
i’d be at 100?

The battle song of
Little Big Horn
is for The Lakota People
nothing i can write here
can compare
to its starkly real
Marty’s been visiting
and playing for
the Lakota on Pine Ridge
since 1983
he’s been adopted by them,

that’s Honor.

the gospel songs
are simple, four
voices and acoustics
one lone drum
beginning with,
Bill Munroe’s classic
Working On a Building
Harry sings Bill’s lead,

Talk With Jesus
Angels Rock Me
just as Lovely, Lifting,
and Loving.

Choctaw Fair
is a true story song
of how Marty and his
wife of twelve years
(43 years in country musician marriage years,
jokes Marty)
country music singer
Connie Smith
got together.
it’s a love song
the way country music
feel and communicate
the honest
with you,
their audience.

Hillbilly Rock is
dirty and gritty
and sets the table
for the request

Marty tells us
the money
the sale of the Tour
Program goes to Operation
Smile. for babies born
their smile.

The Cool
is a blessing
a gift
accept it,


cuz we’re truly Cool
when we say
thank you
(with open heart),
to Marty Stuart
and The Superlatives,
the students,
and Johnny Cash,
the father and the teacher
of The Cool.





About Eugene Osudar

“born, august 16, 1963. i’m 45, and yes, i’m getting too old for this. bring out the rocking chair. my first concert, november 1978, elvis costello and the attractions. i was 15. their blisteringly brilliant 65 minute set only served somebody to affirm my new direction in the musical parallel universes, new wave punk alternative, oh sanctity oh celebration (!Freedom!) college radio! i’m old, i’m used up and i’m free. i see 50something Full sets of music every month and dance most of them. and when i dance, i mean to say, I Dance and Celebrate, 2/3/4 hours a night. The Gaslight Anthem. The Boss. The Weber Brothers. The Wind Ups. i’ll dance with Los Campesinos. i’ll move to The Long Winters. The Replacements. Husker Du. The Pogues. oh elvis costello, oh Clash! i could go/go/go Gogol Bordello forever. L(eonard) Cohen. come, Dance With Me (Old 97s) wherever you may be, sincerely, eugene
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