5 Songs You Didn’t Know Marty Stuart Wrote for Other Artists

Marty Stuart likely has the best hair in country music. His look is unparalleled. He’s one-part Matrix hero, one part knight in shining armor, and one part music star.

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Indeed, he’s had an indelible career in country music. An ambassador to the genre. He wrote many songs for himself that proved to be classics. But did you know he wrote at least a handful of tunes that would go on to become famous, recorded by other big names like Johnny Cash?

The 64-year-old Philadelphia, Mississippi-born artist was, in fact, a touring member of Cash’s road band before working as a solo artist in the 1980s. Since then, he’s released more than 20 albums and has charted more than 30 times on the Billboard Hot Country songs.

Let’s dive into the songs that the Country Music Hall of Famer and member of the Grand Ole Opry wrote for others.

1. “Hey Hey Train,” Johnny Cash

Written by Marty Stuart

Released on Cash’s 1981 album, The Baron, which is also Cash’s 66th studio album, “Hey Hey Train” is about one of the most important themes in American music: the train. This one, in particular, took a girl away from town—oh, the Woah. Written by Stuart, who was once a member of Cash’s band, this track rollicks and rattles. It chugs on like a train, too. On it, Cash laments but does it so powerfully that his booming voice remains of its signature strength. It’s a sad but muscular town. Just like a train.

2. “Draggin’ My Heart Around,” Travis Tritt

Written by Marty Stuart and Paul Kennerley

Stuart and Tritt have been friends and musical compatriots for many years. To wit, Stuart had a major hand in Tritt’s album, The Restless Kind, which was Tritt’s fifth studio LP, released in 1996. The two performed a duet on the track, “Double Trouble,” and Stuart co-write the song, “Draggin’ My Heart Around,” with Paul Kennerley for the Tritt recording. The driving country song features slide guitars, a propelling rhythm, and lyrics about the bitter taste of lost love. Along with “Double Trouble,” Stuart helped pen “Sack Full of Stones” on the album, too.

3. “You’re Right, I’m Wrong,” George Straight

Written b Marty Stuart and Wayne Perry

The opening track to George Straight’s 1991 album, Holding My Own, “You’re Right, I’m Wrong” is all about admitting you’ve messed up but also admitting you want the person that you’ve offended back. It’s the daylight after a dark night of drinking. In this way, it’s a classic country tune. I’m the fool that made you say goodbye, sings straight. You’re right, I’m wrong.

4. “It Only Hurts When I Laugh,” Jann Brown

Written by Marty Stuart and Lazarides Kostas

The titular track from the 1991 Jann Brown LP, “It Only HurtsWhen I Laugh” is another classic country tune telling a life story atop a slide guitar and driving rhythm. The song, written by Stuart and Greek-born country songwriter Lazarides Kostas, tells the tale of someone crazy in love, made to learn of the world through loss. Singing the blues and born to lose while I laugh the hurt away. Is anything more true than that?

5. “Tortured, Tangled Hearts,” the Chicks

Written by Marty Stuart, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines

Known at the time as The Dixie Chicks, the trio’s 2002 album, Home, included two songs co-written by Stuart, including “Tortured, Tangled Hearts” and “I Believe in Love.” The album itself featured more bluegrass and acoustic instrumentation than prior albums from the trio and “Tortured, Tangled Hearts” keeps in that style. Banjos pluck, fiddles fiddle. Another storytelling song about the damaging quality of lost love, this song is a beautiful, golden ray of tangled heart sunshine.

Photo by Mickey Bernal/Getty Images

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