Recommendation XIV: Marty Stuart

Greetings to all, once again. As always, I gotta apologize for my absence – I cannot believe I have not posted anything since July 4th, so almost three months! It’s been way too long and working all the time doesn’t help. I will try a new thing in which that I will post entries regularly but it does not have to be a recommendation. I kind of felt like every entry had to be a recommendation, but it doesn’t have to be. I don’t want to drift too far away from the main theme of this blog, but I’ll start a new thing where I’ll make my comments on current radio singles (because I usually review non-singles), and I’ll try to keep them short. Anyway, here goes with my new recommendation – I’ve had this one in mind for a long time now!

My fourteenth recommendation is: Marty Stuart’s “Casino” from his 2005 Badlands album. I was first introduced to this album when CMT aired a special about Marty’s journey to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. I knew of him before that and liked his music but I was not really into him, for some reason. The special was really captivating because I could relate with some of what was going on. I myself am Native American and I knew a little about the Lakota tribe and the Badlands area, so seeing how passionate Marty Stuart was about helping out this tribe, who live simple lives on the rural, significantly-impoverished reservation land, was amazing. His goal was to bring awareness to their situation by using his talents in music, like Johnny Cash‘s Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian concept album, to get the message across. I have plenty more to say about the topic, but not enough space lol, so you can read this to find out more.

“Casino” grabbed me on first listen, indefinitely. You would know by reading my reviews that I’ve got a huge soft spot for a slow, traditional country ballad, especially one with loads of yearning steel guitar. The steady acoustic guitar chords add to the agony of the story described throughout, of a Native American man who has basically lost everything near and dear to him because of the enchanting lure of the lights of the casino. I have seen and heard lots of stories about how the casinos in or around reservations are doing tons more harm than good. Of course, they’re not totally to blame: the victim did choose to go in and gamble away, but it truly is an addiction, like alcohol, and the casinos sure know how to take advantage of that as much as they can. The story told by Marty Stuart in this song, I’m sure, describes so many different people’s lives, and he sings it with such conviction: you would think it really happened to him. You can’t help but feel so bad for the man in this song: he seems so lonely and surrounded by darkness and with nowhere to go but back to the demons who brought him down. And damn, that steel guitar sure highlights the suffering this man is going through! I think it’s one of the best steel songs in music, to be honest (of course, I’m biased, but listen to it, and you’ll see what I mean! ;) )

I love that Marty created this album because there are not many songs that portray Native Americans or their culture (without all the same-clichés and sterotypes) and focus on their lives and the struggles they go through, like this. Marty Stuart reminds me of Johnny Cash in so many ways, and the efforts both of them made to, not just country music but on other areas, is outstanding. It’s thrilling also that the whole album is rooted deep in traditional country and a honky-tonk sound, making it even more of a stunning work. All the songs sound great and capture the spirit of what he intended to do with the album. It is absolutely one of the best albums I own and I wish more people would listen to it and let the music just sink into their ears and soul.

Thanks for reading!

Buy the song here on iTunes now!

Here are the full lyrics to “Casino”, written by Marty Stuart:

They built a casino
Out under the stars,
With neon lights blinking
On tired, rusted cars.

Card-sharks take my money.
Whiskey puts in me in jail.
An oasis of misery:
I know it so well.

I pawned my last silver:
It sparkled and shined
And a beautiful ring
From the Black Hills gold mines.

A hole in my pocket
That money did burn.
A loser beyond
The point of return.

My woman couldn’t take
My Friday night ways.
She left me in search of
Her better days.

Now I’m tortured by silence
And being alone,
And the shadows of evil
That inherit my bones.

So it’s back to the place
Where I’ve gambled all hope.
My name once respected,
Is now but a joke.

As I stumble back home,
I murmur a prayer.
I can’t help but wonder
Is God really there?



1 Comment

  1. Welcome back, and again, great choice!

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