The Pilgrim (Marty Stuart album)

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The Pilgrim
Marty Stuart - The Pilgrim.jpg
Studio album by Marty Stuart
Released June 15, 1999
Genre Country
Length 48:57
Language English
Label MCA Nashville
Producer Marty Stuart
Marty Stuart chronology
Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best
(1996)Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best1996
The Pilgrim
Country Music
(2003)Country Music2003

The Pilgrim is the 10th studio album of country music artist Marty Stuart, released in 1999. It is a concept album, telling the story of a man (The Pilgrim) from Marty Stuart's hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi. Marty plays the role of the Pilgrim, as well as other roles. It was a significant move in Stuart's career, as before The Pilgrim he had been focusing more on trying to get a hit song instead of making the music that really mattered to him. With this album he demonstrates his songwriting skills (every track is written by Stuart) and his diverse instrumental skills. The album features many country/bluegrass legends as guest stars, including Emmylou Harris, Pam Tillis, George Jones, Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs and Marty's old boss, Johnny Cash.


The Pilgrim is based on a true story of a man from Stuart's hometown, named Norman. Everyone was surprised when Norman (described as "cross-eyed Norman" in the album's liner notes) married Rita, the town's beauty queen. As time went by Norman grew more and more possessive and jealous. Rita took comfort in the charms of a man she worked with at the hospital. That man was The Pilgrim, who came from a town 40 miles away, and did not know that Rita was married. She never responded to his affections, despite the fact that he begged her to marry him. She never told him she was married. Norman began to feel the distance between him and Rita at home, and knew she was on the verge of leaving him. One evening, Norman came home, and Rita wasn't there. He wrote her a letter, put it in his coat pocket, got his gun and went in search of his wife. He found her at the hospital - holding hands with The Pilgrim. He began making threats, and The Pilgrim, not knowing who Norman was, jumped up to defend Rita. She had to finally admit that she was married. Norman then regained control, and shook The Pilgrim's hand, saying "I just wanted to meet the man that tore up my home and let him see what it's done". The Pilgrim tried reasoning with Norman, claiming that he did not know Rita was married, but his words fell on deaf ears. Norman kissed Rita, told her that he loved her more than life, handed her the letter, and shot himself in the head. After Norman's funeral, Rita left town to escape the scandal, and The Pilgrim was in despair. He truly loved Rita. The only thing he was guilty of was falling in love with a woman that he didn't know was married. He left town, and began hitchhiking and hoboing all across America. He developed a drinking problem, and rode the rails until he reached the Pacific. It was at the Pacific where he decided that the love he had known had to be put back together. He tracked Rita down, and today the couple are happily married and raising a family.


The album fared poorly in the charts, but was popular amongst critics and Stuart's fans, receiving almost entirely positive reviews.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Intro" Marty Stuart 0:26
2. "Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain" Marty Stuart/Gary Nicholson 3:10
3. "The Pilgrim (Act I)" Marty Stuart 0:54
4. "Harlan County" Marty Stuart 1:32
5. "Reasons" Marty Stuart 3:31
6. "Love Can Go To..." Marty Stuart 0:31
7. "Red, Red Wine And Cheatin' Songs" Marty Stuart 3:12
8. "Truckstop" Marty Stuart 1:27
9. "Hobo's Prayer" Marty Stuart 3:37
10. "Goin' Nowhere Fast" Marty Stuart 3:11
11. "The Observations Of A Crow" Marty Stuart 5:27
12. "Intermission" Marty Stuart 0:31
13. "The Greatest Love Of All Time" Marty Stuart 3:29
14. "The Greatest Love Of All Time (Reprise)" Marty Stuart 1:54
15. "Draggin' Around These Chains Of Love" Marty Stuart/Mike Campbell 3:13
16. "The Pilgrim (Act II)" Marty Stuart 0:37
17. "Redemption" Marty Stuart 1:49
18. "The Pilgrim (Act III)" Marty Stuart 6:04
19. "Outro" Words: Excerpt from Sir Galahad by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Music by Marty Stuart 2:33
20. "Mr. John Henry, Steel Driving Man" Marty Stuart/Earl Scruggs 2:01

The Marty Stuart Show[edit]

Marty Stuart (alongside his Fabulous Superlatives) often performs tracks from this album on The Marty Stuart Show on RFD-TV. They have performed tracks such as 'Reasons', 'Red, Red Wine, And Cheatin' Songs', 'Hobo's Prayer', 'The Greatest Love Of All Time', 'The Pilgrim (Act III)' and with special guest Earl Scruggs, 'Mr John Henry, Steel Driving Man'.


As listed in liner notes

The Rock & Roll Cowboys[edit]


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 63
Canadian RPM Country Albums 21