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Marty Stuart Rediscovers Gospel in 'Souls' Chapel'

Marty Stuart has been playing music on the road since he was 12 years old, starting as a mandolin player with a bluegrass gospel group. At 13, he was traveling in Lester Flatt's bluegrass band. Later, he played with Doc and Merle Watson, and Johnny Cash before launching his solo career in country music.

Now Stuart has returned to gospel with his new CD Souls' Chapel.

"I've always loved gospel music," he says. "Being raised in Mississippi, it was kind of part of the atmosphere down there." Stuart says he and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, gravitated toward gospel music as they toured and sang together, so a gospel CD seemed like a natural thing to pursue. "It was a spirit-led thing too because it felt like it was time to do it," he says.

During a visit to NPR's studios, Stuart brought along a guitar that once belonged to the late gospel great Roebuck "Pops" Staples. The singer says the instrument was a godsend that lifted his spirits after two drunk-driving arrests. Shortly after his second arrest, Stuart says, Staples' daughters, Mavis and Yvonne, came to one of Stuart's concerts and gave him their father's guitar. "They said 'Pops' would want you to have this… It was like being thrown a life preserver."

In NPR's Studio 4A, Stuart and his band perform "Somebody Saved Me" by "Pops" Staples and "Lord, Give Me Just a Little More Time," both from the new CD.

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