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Should you prefer your country music pure and unfiltered, we hope you made time (and enough coffee) to check out Marty Stuart's Late Night Jam. The annual old-school fundraiser was held Wednesday, June 5, at the Ryman Auditorium and proceeds from ticket sales benefited CMA's Keep the Music Playing Fund as well as MusiCares.
In addition to gregarious host Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives, other performers included Marty's wife, Connie Smith, with her Sundowners, The Oak Ridge Boys, Brandy Clark, Bobby Bare and others. As usual, veteran announcer Eddie Stubbs emceed the proceedings and guests included designer Manuel and Marty's mom, Hilda Stuart.
New country talent was a key component of the show, with exciting performances from traditionalist Mo Pitney, singer-guitarist Charlie Worsham and not-even-teenaged bluegrass pickers Sleepy Man Banjo Boys.
The crowd also got a look at country's storied history, with incredible performances from Bobby Bare on "That's How I Got to Memphis," "Detroit City" and "Marie Laveau." Looking even farther back, 90-year-old Don Maddox (from '40s country family ensemble Maddox Brothers and Rose) told jokes and played his fiddle while square dancers stomped around the Ryman stage. In between performers, Marty peppered the set with his own songs and renditions of country classics.
The Oak Ridge Boys proved to be the musical highlight with knockout performances of "Bobbie Sue" and the classic "Elvira," as well as a gorgeous interpretation of "Farther Along" in honor of George Jones. Jamey Johnson also snuck onstage with the Oaks, singing a mournful "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun."
To which we say, "Amen" and "Alleluia."