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Tony Brown talks 30th anniversary of Marty Stuart's 'Tempted' CD

Veteran producer Tony Brown chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about the 30th anniversary of Marty Stuart's "Tempted" album.

He is affectionately known as "The King of Nashville." His respected career in the music business has surpassed four decades and he has produced hundreds of No. 1 country songs that have been listened to by millions (their sales have been in excess of 100 million).

When you first saw Marty Stuart what did you notice about him? "I saw Marty the first time when he was around 14 years old playing with Flatt & Scruggs. He was quite a flashy young man, had lots of charisma, and played the hell out of a mandolin."

Tell us the story about how Marty found you at the Memphis studio with Steve Earle. "Marty signed with CBS records and was trying to do a hybrid bluegrass-country album like Ricky Skaggs was doing, but he had no success. I was recording my third album with Steve Earle "Copperhead Road,” in Memphis at Ardent Studios, when Marty pulled up in the parking lot in his CJ5 Jeep. He said, 'I'm not leaving here until you promise to sign me to MCA'."

Describe how Marty created his own lane. "I asked Marty what kind of stuff he was writing. He’d been writing with Paul Kennerley, a British songwriter, and they had written, what they called, "Beat Ballads," like a Buddy Holly kind of thing. He played me 'Hillbilly Rock' and said that was the style of songs they were writing. It was a bit retro, but still very fresh, especially with Marty’s style of electric guitar playing."

'Tempted' marked your second project with Marty. How did you plan to differentiate it from his debut album with MCA? What track or tracks on the album did you think were the standout performances? "With 'Hillbilly Rock,' Marty had created his own brand of country music, unlike anyone else. He and Paul K. would continue to write 'beat-ballads' like 'Little Things,' 'Tempted' and a slew of others that were big hits. We ended up having two gold and two platinum albums."

How has Marty’s sound and legacy in the music industry grown since 'Tempted'? "Marty has since gone on to create another brand of country music with his band The Superlatives, more in the vein of the Burrito Brothers and the Byrds. What I am proud of most for Marty Stuart is that he has never compromised his art and has remained completely authentic with his music and his image, wearing those expensive and cool Manuel suits. As Sinatra said, Marty did it 'his way.'"

What message do you have for Marty as he is slated for the next Country Music Hall of Fame induction? "Marty carries the torch for the tradition of hillbilly and country music, more than anyone I can think of. He created his own sound. It wasn't just bluegrass. It wasn't just hillbilly. It was his own and to this day he still owns it. I am so proud to see that the Country Music Hall of Fame selected him for induction."

To learn more about Tony Brown, check out his official website.


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