TVD Radar: Marty Stuart, The Pilgrim: A Wall-to-Wall Odyssey book with bonus CD in stores 2/14

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020, Marty Stuart will release The Pilgrim: A Wall-to-Wall Odyssey, a beautifully illustrated, 11″ by 10.5″ tabletop book (with CD) that details the making of his seminal record The Pilgrim, an album that reconnected Stuart with the deepest spirit of country music’s rich traditions while also breaking new ground.

“The Pilgrim project was the first step in a journey that led me to the outer edge of the awakenings of my true musical heart and soul,” says the country music legend. “It’s an album that’s close to my heart, and one that explores a true story of an unbelievable romance that unfolded in my hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi when I was a kid. It’s a story of the power of love to overcome life’s darkest moments. The story that’s told in The Pilgrim, and my own story of how the project came to be and continues to shape me, makes my heart swell. When thinking about when I wanted to share this book with the wider world, I couldn’t think of a better time than Valentine’s Day.”

The Pilgrim, Stuart’s tenth studio album, was originally released in 1999. The risky and ambitious concept project—based on true events that transpired in his hometown—was a turning point in Marty’s unique artistry. While not a commercial success at the time, The Pilgrim represents a rediscovery of his roots and a creative rebirth that has since become a modern-day country music classic. The hefty hardcover volume, however, is about much more than just one landmark album. It’s about spiritual discovery, artistic integrity, and a vision that set Stuart on an enlightened path.

Originally available in limited release during the 20th anniversary celebration of the album in the fall, The Pilgrim book is now available as a wide-release title via BMG, which began publishing music-related books in 2017. Included in The Pilgrim: A Wall-to-Wall Odyssey is a newly remastered CD of the original album, along with ten bonus tracks that feature guest performances by Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Uncle Josh Graves, Earl Scruggs, and Stuart’s wife, Grand Ole Oprylegend Connie Smith.

“While I was developing The Pilgrim, Stuart explains, “I sought vision. I made a number of trips to visit and play music with people I love and admire, whom I consider to be divine sources of inspiration. I looked for wisdom at every turn while continuing to gather the courage to follow my heart into the unknown.” That journey is chronicled in the pages of the book, which feature intimate photographs of Marty making music with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Bill Monroe, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, B.B. King, The Staple Singers, Tom Petty, John Lee Hooker, Willie Nelson, Keith Richards, George Jones, Dolly Parton, and others.

A celebrated photographer in his own right, Stuart himself captured the truck stops, county fairs, gospel singers, backwoods circus performers, South Dakota Native American Indians, and eclectic cast of characters—both obscure and well-known—that he encountered on his journey to reconnect with his musical roots and find new paths forward.

At the heart of The Pilgrim is the true story of a weary traveler who went on a pilgrimage of his own after an episode of shocking violence separated him from the woman he loved. He was determined to end his own life, but the power of true love brought him back from the brink of personal hell and back into the arms of the woman who would become his lifelong partner. Adapting the tale for his ground-breaking concept album, Stuart offers unparalleled insight into his artistic process through handwritten lyrics, detailed notes on the songs, the inspiration that fueled his studio sessions, and even photos of the instruments used on the album.

“Going into my archives to search out Pilgrim-related material for this release was like reaching into a dusty old treasure chest,” Stuart recalls. “I found songs that I’d written and forgotten, photographs I never got around to looking at, unfinished recordings from The Pilgrim sessions, and a string of archival recordings … So many life lessons were offered in the creative process of making The Pilgrim. Perhaps the toughest of them all was letting go when the record was considered unsuccessful. However, in letting go, I learned that some things do, in fact, come back around.”

It’s impossible to understand Marty Stuart without understanding what led to The Pilgrim and how it has shaped who he is today as an uncompromising artist and an unflinching evangelist for pure country music. The story of the making of The Pilgrim is the story of Marty Stuart’s artistic and spiritual journey. The story that inspired The Pilgrim is the story of love’s power to conquer all.

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