Being a torch-bearer for any sort of musical tradition is full of potential pitfalls, not least among them being perceived as a humorless bore or a museum piece yourself. For singer-guitarist (and country icon in his own right) Marty Stuart, continual deep dives into the storied past of country music serve as creatively rejuvenating, like some sort of sonic Lazarus Pit. Stuart – a close confidante of Johnny Cash toward the end of the great man's life – is like the Lenny Kaye of country music, an archivist and historian working from the inside, preserving the traditions of the music he loves while simultaneously adding his own voice and songs to this sonic legacy. Stuart is currently touring behind new album Way Out West
, a windswept, hazy homage to the sounds of the West Coast, be it '60s Laurel Canyon rock or the "cosmic" country of Gram Parsons. Finding new forms of expression in old ways, Stuart proves that the past doesn't always have to be a straitjacket. Oh, and great haircut, it has to be said.
with Sean McConnell | 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4 | The Social, 54 N. Orange Ave. | 407-246-1419 | thesocial.org