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Tiny Desk Premiere: Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

When Marty Stuart arrived, his cheerful smile and charismatic personality beamed. He had a charming swagger and it was immediately clear we were in the presence of a country and bluegrass music legend.

When Stuart was just 12 years old, he went on the road for the first time with a Pentecostal gospel bluegrass group called the Sullivan Family Gospel Singers. Almost 55 years later, he's still performing and is a five-time Grammy winner, Country Music Hall of Famer and AMA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

Those accolades only hint at the artistry of Stuart and his longtime band The Fabulous Superlatives. Looking around the room during his Tiny Desk performance, people in the audience were visibly captivated by this undeniable demonstration of musical excellence — beautiful harmonies, precise rhythmic precision and perfectly blended arrangements all sewn together with a casual flair that was simple and fun.

Recorded just a few days before Easter, the set ends appropriately in the spirit of the church. "When we first put our band together, the way we learned to sing together was singing gospel songs," said Stuart. "I was in love with the Staple Singers as always, Mavis and Pops and Cleotha and Pervis, and they are all like family and so bluegrass music all figured in. So we finally got around to writing a few songs for ourselves and here's one we got to do called 'Heaven.' "

SET LIST

  • "Tempted"
  • "Streamline"
  • "Tomahawk"
  • "Heaven"


MUSICIANS

  • Marty Stuart: vocals, guitar, mandolin
  • Kenny Vaughan: guitar, vocals
  • Chris Scruggs: bass, vocals
  • Harry Stinson: drums, vocals


TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Director/Editor: Kara Frame
  • Audio Technical Director: Josephine Nyounai
  • Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Alanté Serene
  • Audio Engineer: Kwesi Lee
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Estefania Mitre
  • Tiny Desk Team: Maia Stern, Hazel Cills
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

Copyright 2024 NPR

Suraya Mohamed is a three-time Peabody Award-winning producer, sound designer and editor. She currently serves as the project manager for Jazz Night In America and is a contributing producer on the Alt.Latino podcast. She also produces NPR's holiday specials package, including Tinsel Tales, Hanukkah Lights, Toast Of The Nation, Pink Martini's Joy To The World: A Holiday Spectacular and most recently Hamilton: A Story Of US. You'll also find her work on the Tiny Desk series as either a producer or engineer.