Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives: Altitude (Superlatone Creative Group under exclusive license to Snakefarm Records) – Album Review
Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Get ready to embark on a cosmic journey with Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives as they unleash their new album, “Altitude“. This electrifying album takes the essence of outlaw country and injects it with an undeniable psychedelic flair, transporting listeners to new heights of musical euphoria. With its mesmerizing blend of classic country charm and innovative sonic wizardry, “Altitude” is a sonic experience that will leave you craving for more. So fasten your seatbelts and prepare to soar through the cosmic cowboy realm with Marty and the boys!
Anyone a fan of twang? I thought so. Well there are plenty of “twangy” options on “Altitude” to get your fix. Let’s start with the title track, Altitude. The intro is pure country bliss chock full of pedal steel and twang galore. Just a perfectly beautiful country song delivered by professionals. The song flows flawlessly into Vegas which is a melding of outlaw country with some serious “Byrds” flair. I can’t stress enough how brilliantly Marty and his band fuse psychedelic music and country. It’s like they were made for each other. And proof that country is actually one of the building blocks of contemporary music. Nightriding takes the twang and psychedelia and adds a hefty helping of blues on top. Still fitting in perfectly with that vibe-packed country style. And Marty’s voice and the accompanying backing vocals go so well together. The harmonies fit Marty’s voice like a hand in a tight glove.
Tomahawk pays homage to Johnny Cash with an intro that Johnny would endorse. Marty goes back about 65 years to tap into the Sun Records period of Johnny Cash’s career. That driving guitar and bassline on Tomahawk are very reminiscent of Cry, Cry, Cry, Hey Porter, Get Rhythm, and Big River among others. With Kenny Vaughan on guitar, Harry Stinson on drums, and Chris Scruggs on bass, the band really resurrects that early JC sound that has become a soundtrack of so many people’s lives.
In addition to the songs with vocals, there are three tracks that are instrumentals that clearly pay homage to the Byrds and their eponymous release, Sweethearts Of The Rodeo. Even the cover art of “Altitude” is heavily influenced by “Sweethearts”. As if there was still some doubt about the connection, Marty Stuart And The Fabulous Superlatives put all uncertainty to rest with the three instrumental tracks entitled Lost Byrd Space Train (Scene 1), Lost Byrd Space Train (Scene 2), and Lost Byrd Space Train (Epilogue).
The year of 2023 will be listed as one of the great years for country and rock music within the last 20 years and “Altitude” is a huge contributing factor. Marty Stuart is one of the most influential country music and rock artists of the last 30 years. He is always experimenting with different sounds and genres, while still staying true to the heart and soul of country. Yes, it is different and not an exact replica of any true country release that came before it. To be able to harness the old and attach it to the new while being respectful to tradition is a very rare skill and Marty Stuart And The Fabulous Superlatives make it look easy.
Explore Altitude here