By Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY For most of the '60s, Porter Wagoner was arguably the most recognizable star in country music.
Marty Stuart is convinced that the 79-year-old singer — known as much for his flashy spangled and rhinestone-studded stage wear as for such hits as A Satisfied Mind and Green, Green Grass of Home— is on the verge of having a whole new generation discover him.
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"I started noticing that Annie Leibovitz was taking his picture; he was in Vanity Fair," says Stuart, a fellow performer who learned many lessons in showmanship as a child by watching Wagoner's syndicated television show. "He's a folk-art subject. He's always on the list of coolest album covers."
Earlier this month in a Nashville studio, Stuart produced Wagoner's new album, Wagonmaster, due for release in May on the punk-oriented Anti- label. "I told him, 'You have no idea who and what loves you. The only thing you have to do is show up and be Porter Wagoner.' "
Wagoner and Stuart were ready to book studio time last summer, until Wagoner underwent emergency surgery for a life-threatening abdominal aneurysm on July 14.
"I called my son, Richard, at 3 o'clock in the morning and he got me to the hospital," Wagoner recalls. "My doctor says he's the one I need to give credit to, for getting me there in time."Read More