Album: Marty Stuart, Ghost Train

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The Independent Culture

RCA's Studio B in Nashville was where Marty Stuart made his recording debut, aged 13, playing mandolin in Lester Flatt's band, so it's fitting he should return there for this rootsy traditional country outing, the best country album this year.

It features six pedal-steel guitarists laying down creamy, lachrymose lines and, in the case of the title-track, some neat lonesome-train impressions; and some of the most dazzling fingerpicking you'll hear in a long time on "Country Boy Rock & Roll", a dizzying Telecaster twangfest balanced by high-proof tear-jerkers like the marvellous "Drifting Apart". Stuart's outlaw status is affirmed in "Branded", while his friendship with Johnny Cash furnished the powerful "Hangman", an expression of executioner's misery co-written four days before Big John died.

DOWNLOAD THIS Country Boy Rock & Roll; Hangman; Drifting Apart; Ghost Train Four-Oh-Ten