Marty Falle Kentucky Bluestar

Marty Falle Opts for Appalachian Originality with Kentucky Bluestar

By Lee Zimmerman for Country Music News International Magazine

 

Marty Falle is a bluegrass original, but he’s well rooted in the history and traditions of inherent Americana. He traces his interest in real roots music to his affection for old re-runs of “The Andy Griffith Show” and the program’s “house band,” The Darlings, who were actually played by the real-life bluegrass band, The Dillards.

Creating and performing original Bluegrass music is art,” Falle says. “There are so many great Bluegrass artists and I feel fortunate to participate and provide my version of this genre of American Roots Music.”

His fondness for the form was accelerated during the time he spent in Athens Ohio, home to a local music store called Blue Eagle Music, where he saw local musicians adept at fiddle, banjo, mandolin, dobro and, all the bluegrass basics.

Following his graduation from Ohio University, he took a job as a traveling law book salesman, and it was his subsequent transfer to Eastern Kentucky that offered him a further opportunity to immerse himself in the music.

“The local folks were very good to me,” he recalls. “I was introduced to bourbon and bluegrass. I’d constantly listen to Dwight Yoakum, Steve Earle, Keith Whitley, and Bill Monroe while I was driving my pick-up truck to places like Pikeville, Harlan, Hazard, and Paintsville.”

Falle recalls it as both “strange and beautiful” at the same time, and, as such, it created memories that last to this day.

To be sure, Falle always maintained an interest in music. A member of the football team in high school, he was persuaded to join the high school choir, which, in turn, introduced him to all kinds of music, from classical to contemporary. He performed in school musicals and later joined a barbershop quartet, a pop ensemble, the school orchestra and eventually, a ‘50s doo-wop group. He also began taking an interest in rock and roll. However, it was a move to Nashville and a meeting with the man who would later become his producer, Jonathan Yudkin, that helped assure his status as a prolific artist with a credible career ahead of him.

A history major in college, it’s little surprise that actual events inform his songwriting. With five albums behind him, and his latest, Kentucky Bluestar winning a wealth of accolades and attention, his singular style has come to the fore. In fact, several of his previous songs were inspired by actual events. “Renfro Valley Barn Dance” references Lily May Ledford, a claw hammer banjo and fiddle player from the late 1930s, who, with her band, Lily May and the Coon Creek Girls became one of the first all-female string bands to appear on the radio. “Appalachian River Songdescribes a tragic bus crash in Kentucky that took place in 1958. So too, his song “Bloody Coal,” was inspired by the Harlan County Coal War of the 1930s.

That concept continues on Kentucky Blue Star. A rousing and robust example of bluegrass at its best, the songs are stirring and striking without exception, as evidenced even on an initial listen. Here again, a historical theme runs throughout. “Cherokee” was inspired by what became known as The Trail of Tears, a sad and sobering injustice suffered by Native Americans. On the other hand, “Daytona” captures Falle’s impressions of the famous Daytona 500 auto race.

The upcoming single from the new album, “Ridin’” is also flush with an emphatic drive and determination. In a sense it sums up Falle’s absolute devotion to his craft and his unwavering pursuit of all its possibilities.

“I love the history of bluegrass music in the Appalachian Region and the emphasis on acoustic instruments and the vocal harmonies,”Falle reflects. “It is raw and pure. I have a deep connection to Appalachia, having gone to college at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and living in Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina. I am especially drawn to the music and culture of Eastern Kentucky where I own a farm. My original songs like ‘Renfro Valley Barn Dance,’ ‘Appalachian River Song,’ ‘Kentucky Bluestar,’ ‘Cherokee,’ ‘Gramma needs her Whiskey,’ ‘Bloody Coal,’ ‘Virgin on the Bluegrass,’ ‘Ben the Bootlegger,’ and others are all stories inspired by that region.

Falle’s faith and his own true life experience underscore that dedication and devotion. His song “Fire Angel” sums up those sentiments succinctly: “Fire Angel take me down this highway, ’cause without faith I cannot dare to dream that far…”

Even though, Kentucky Bluestar is only Falle’s second album devoted entirely to bluegrass — his first, Virgin on the Bluegrass, preceded it — it’s clear Falle’s found special success in the field already. The album reached the top ten in the APD Bluegrass/Folk Albums, a chart which tracks airplay, while the title track also hit the top ten on the Bluegrass Today Singles Chart. In addition, he’s received recognition from several of the genre’s most respected publications, including Bluegrass Standard Magazine, which selected Falle for the cover of its June 2023 issue, and  Bluegrass Today, which made him the focus of an in-depth article. He also became a YouTube sensation courtesy of the three million views he received for the track titled “Hoochie Coochie Gal from the Buckeye State.”

Surprisingly, Falle says that at first, he had no interest in taking music his primary pursuit, insisting that he had met any number of A list artists who didn’t seem to be particularly happy individuals. Nevertheless, he says he’s happy with all he’s achieved thus far, and his desire to share his talents will always lead him to continue making music.

“God gave me a gift,” he maintains. “My goal is to actualize that gift.”

That gift extends to other arenas as well. He’s a successful business man. He said that he knew he had made it when he found he had enough money to buy a pair of snakeskin boots and a new set of Goodyear Wranglers with raised white lettering for his truck. However, “Music and love do not pay the rent, so I am always working,” he says.

That may be true, but given the effort and emotion Falle puts in to making music, the rewards for both his listeners and himself are enriching regardless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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