The Park City Institue completed its 2021 Summer Series with Country Music Hall of Famer, the great Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives. Marty Stuart is a versatile musician who has played with every great country legend imaginable. He was in Johnny Cash’s touring band and started out touring with Lester Flatt. Through this and many other experiences, Marty has become a legend in his own right. Stuart is an exceptional guitarist and mandolin player. It was so incredible to see him with his great band perform an all-acoustic set in the beautiful Eccles Center in Park City.
Marty’s Fabulous Superlatives consists of Kenny Vaughan who plays the acoustic 6-string and 12-string guitars, Chris Scruggs on Acoustic bass, and Harry Stinson who played snare drum with brushes. It’s impressive how much sound they can produce acoustically.
The show started with “Tombstone”, Bridge Washed Out” and “Rawhide”. That set the tone and got everyone in the right frame of mind on just how special this night of music was going to be.
Guitarist, Kenny Vaughan took over on vocals for a bit. The band then played “Cuz”. Just to show off their versatility, they played a jazzy version of “Walk Like That”. They then followed that with a”Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover” by Willie Dixon.
The next segment Marty & His Fabulous Superlatives played a segment of what I might describe as Surf Rock meets Country- Western. They played “La Tingo Tango” and Marty declared Park City the, “Momentary Surf capitol of the nation”. They beautifully played a Spanish-style Western Surf instrumental tune titled, “Rhapsideo Sangre De Christo”. Talk about versatility!
Next, drummer, Harry Stinson took over on lead vocals. He really hammed it up when he sang “Pretty Boy Floyd” by Woody Guthrie. He would hold out certain vocal notes forever as the audience would applaud their approval. While Harry sang, “The Ballad of Easy Rider” by Roger Mcguinn, Marty played a b-bender acoustic Martin. That beautiful guitar was a sight to behold, then watching the great Marty Stuart playing it was its own incredible moment altogether.
Bassist, Chris Scruggs took his turn at lead vocals and like the rest of the Superlatives, did not disappoint. He sang, “Brain Cloudy Blues” which featured Marty on the mandolin. Something I know the entire audience was looking forward to. That was followed by an awesome version of “Wipeout”. Scruggs played the main melody on his bass, and Harry Stinson played percussion by using his cheeks! Marty continued on the mandolin.
Marty Stuart told a great story about Willie Nelson. He shared how he met Willie’s drummer, Paul English. He was a car salesman until one day Willie told him to learn to play drums and come travel the country with him as his drummer. Stuart then played, “Me and Paul”.
A huge highlight of the evening was when Marty played “Orange Blossom Special”. Marty played this solo with just the mandolin. It was truly sublime! He told the story of how he met Ervin Rouse while wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals.
The great thing about being a band like this, just totally in sync with one another, is they can switch out songs on the fly with no issue. This happened at the conclusion of this concert.
The two encore songs were supposed to be, “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” by Buddy Holly and Hobos Prayer. Both of those were scratched. I have to admit, I would have loved to have heard “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” due to being a huge Buddy Holly fan. But the impromptu song switch was so exciting, I didn’t mind.
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives instead played the instrumental, “Apache”. Kenny lead this instrumental. I had a moment to talk with him after and he mentioned that it was hard to remember what key the song is in and to play it right because they hadn’t done it in a while. Of course, it was totally flawless.
The night concluded with “Ready For the Times to Get Better”. Marty sang while the band played a very minimal and heartfelt version of this masterpiece. It was a perfect way to end a perfect night.
To learn more about the Park City Institute, go to parkcityinstitute.org