On Marty Stuart’s latest album, Way Out West, the country singer-songwriter finds inspiration in the western United States. But it is not an album of old cowboy songs. Stuart’s songs find their sources in a more modern West.
These are the sounds of electric guitars, not harmonica and an acoustic guitar. The music of California plays a larger role in the album than a cowboy campfire, with songs inspired by the sounds of surf-rock or the Byrds or mariachi or spaghetti Westerns — with a little dash of visions of psychedelic aliens. Maybe this is what Gram Parsons meant by Cosmic American Music.
The album features Stuart’s long-time band the Fabulous Superlatives, which includes Kenny Vaughan (guitar), Harry Stinson (drums) and new member Chris Scruggs (bass). And Mike Campbell, the guitarist with Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, produced Way Out West.
Stuart’s website boasts: “The new album, with its atmospheric production and primal rock & roll energy, evokes classics like Marty Robbins’ Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs and Cash’s The Fabulous Johnny Cash, one of the first albums Stuart ever owned.”
Check out the title track of Way Out West, which gives you an idea of the atmospheric sound of much of the album, which also features several instrumentals.
One of my favorites on the album is what sounds like a country road song. So, check out the first single, “Whole Lotta Highway (With a Million Miles to Go).”
Marty Stuart continues to work as an artist exploring new sounds and concepts, not staying stuck in any one place. He has made some great concept albums during the last several decades, including The Pilgrim (1999). So it is cool to see him creating new sounds with a concept that ties together the whole album. It is more of an atmospheric ride or a late-night soundtrack than a collection of catchy songs, but that is okay. It is a fun ride out West.
Way Out West hits the Internet on March 10, 2017.
What is your favorite Marty Stuart album? Leave your two cents in the comments.
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