Skip to content Skip to footer

Around Town: Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives @ NPR Tiny Desk Concert (Published May 6, 2024)

Marty Stuart is a living legend. The country crooner and his band, His Fabulous Superlatives, travel to the DC area regularly for performances, often selling out The Birchmere or Wolf Trap.

Not too long ago, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives packed NPR headquarters for an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. I had the sincere pleasure of being in attendance, and it was my first-ever NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

NPR published the show to YouTube on May 6, and that’s the date we have assigned to the show here, but it was recorded roughly a month or so previous. We are embedding NPR’s YouTube show below.

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives were in high spirits. While they epitomized class and professionalism, they also each seemed earnest, friendly, and approachable.

Leading his band through four songs, Marty’s voice was unwavering in its strength. For the first song, he reached back to his fifth studio album, Tempted, to play the 1991 title track of that record. The four men of the band really grooved on “Tempted,” displaying a remarkable synchronicity. Drummer Harry Stinson and bassist Chris Scruggs harmonized with Marty on the chorus, and they were superb! It was notable also to see Scruggs, the grandson of bluegrass pioneer Earl Scruggs. He played upright bass during the NPR Tiny Desk Concert. And Harry played brushes on a waist drum!

Next, Marty Stuart and the gents performed “Streamline” from their 2014 record, Saturday Night / Sunday Morning. The guys brought some appealing twang to the number. Guitarist Kenny Vaughan took the spotlight with some rolling guitar riffs.

Watch Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives in an NPR Tiny Desk Concert, published to YouTube on May 6, 2024:

The band’s third song was “Tomahawk,” hailing from their 2023 album, Altitude. When introducing the song, Marty reflected on his tenure with Johnny Cash. (Marty was in Cash’s touring band in the 1980s.) Marty explained that he took a melody from Johnny Cash’s “Big River” (1958) for “Tomahawk” becusse he “couldn’t come up with anything better.” Notably, Harry sat at a drum kit for the song rather than stand with his waist drum. Marty and Kenny leaned hard into their guitars, and Chris got a jazzy bass solo, where he slapped the bass and plucked the strings with two fingers. The NPR Tiny Desk crowd loudly applauded “Tomahawk” with enthusiasm.

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives closed their NPR Tiny Desk Concert with “Heaven,” again from Saturday Night / Sunday Morning. Marty explained that the song gained its character from a few inspirations, including his love of The Staple Singers. Marty, Harry, and Chris regrouped from some more harmonizing, and they sang through the song together. Kenny even joined in to punctuate the “Heaven!” callouts.

Catch Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives on tour.

New NPR CEO Katherine Maher attended this NPR Tiny Desk Concert, and we have included a photo of her at the start of our photo set.

Here are some photos of Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives performing at the NPR Tiny Desk Concert, which was published to YouTube on May 6, 2024. All pictures by Mickey McCarter.