Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
Described by Rolling Stone as "pure Americana heart and soul" The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash are the voice and vision of songwriter Mark Stuart. Since forming the band in 1995, he's performed with most every major artist in the Country and Americana music community. Stuart was personally given permission to use the band's name by Johnny Cash himself.
He was also honored by the Man in Black with an invitation to record songs at Cash's own home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Two other iconic music legends, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, were also early believers who were instrumental in helping Stuart get his start.
With the release of their critically acclaimed debut CD"Walk Alone" in 1999, the Bastard Sons quickly proved they were no novelty act. With strong songwriting and great musicianship, the Sons' quickly jumped to the forefront of the growing Alternative Country Scene. No stranger to the road, their constant touring and hard work have built the band a loyal grass roots following both in the States and abroad.
Whether performing in front of thousands at a Festival in the US or Europe, or playing all night in a Texas dance hall, for Stuart it’s all about respect. "The Bastard Sons never were, and never will be, a Johnny Cash tribute band." It's always been about honoring the musical ideals of our heroes, and paying respect to the originality, integrity, and independence that made those artists who they are. Our goal was always to find our own road, and to continue to keep the sounds and traditions of American Roots Music alive.
Stuart and the Bastard Sons have released 5 outstanding CD’s: Walk Alone, Distance Between, Mile Markers, Bend in the Road, and their latest New Old Story. Their music has been featured in Film, Television, and compilation CD's around the world.
"They are, in fact, a brawny roadhouse honky tonk band doing stuff not unlike what you could have heard on Hal Ketchum or Dwight Yoakam records during the ’90s. The vigorous, freewheeling “No Honky Tonks” mourns the demise of real country music and real country venues from California to Texas and Oklahoma (whose Red Dirt is “just rock and roll to me,” Stuart hazards). It’s that restless desire to keep thoughtful, traditional country music alive that keeps the boys “Highway Bound” – where the album starts – and ultimately leads to the kind of staring down of consequences at home exemplified by its final chapter, “Bounds of Your Heart.” In between, there’s a lovely, textured mix of guitars, banjo, Dobro, fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel, piano, and more, comprising a full arsenal of rootsy country goodness. Combined with Stuart’s solid songs and pliable voice – he can sound as pissed off and dangerous as Jamey Johnson or as smooth as Lyle Lovett, as needed – this is one new old story worth hearing again and again." Review of "New Old Story" – California Country
"Truth be told, this outfit owes as much to Waylon, Willie, Merle, Kris and Billy Joe as it does to Johnny himself. Rowdy and raucous, but still hewing to a mindset that embraces highways and honky tonks, the band's latest boasts the sound of classic country sound entangled in a familiar setting."
Review of "New Old Story" – Country Standard Time
"They have created one of the best Country albums of 2013, and one that will definitely stir up some sawdust on the dance room floor. The sound is a straight forward tribute to what Country should exemplify."
Review of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash - "New Old Story" – Twangville
The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash know what they're good at but, more importantly, they know what they love, and that love is obvious throughout the album. They may have lonely hearts, but this album is a love song to country music if there ever was one.
Review of "New Old Story" – Adobe and Teardrops
"New Old Story by Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash is a story you don't want to miss… Like a cross between early Steve Earle and Dwight Yokam the song is an open invitation to jump onboard for a roadtrip… With so many versions of the same old story on the radio these days, it's refreshing to come across a New Old Story. Thanks to The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, this is one story I'll be listening to over and over again."
Review of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash - "New Old Story" – Family Reunion Country
“A more faithful inheritor than any bastard son, Stuart creates neo-country that’s quite a few cuts above much of today’s genericana mediocrity...crackling, stinging twang...touching on heartland roots rock, zesty bluegrass and affecting ballads, delivered in an abundant and versatile voice.”
Rob Patterson - Texas Music
“A solid slab of real country music, "Bend in the Road" feels very Haggardish, with well-written songs set in crisply played backgrounds of fiddle, mandolin, pedal steel and lots of guitars ‘Bend in the Road’ is the best country record I've heard this year. Grade: A”
L. Kent Wolgamott - Lincoln Journal Star
“Stuart exhibits the grit and the spit to keep the act convincing, and with rousing, rollicking barnburners like “Restless Ramblin’ Man,” “When Love Comes A Callin’” and “Gone Like a Raven” providing the fodder, their unflinching blue collar credo gets full venting.”
Fred Mills - Blurt Magazine
“Stuart’s latest batch of original tunes is his best yet. The band plays with more verve and Stuart sings with more freewheeling energy than ever. The Bastard Sons cook up a country rock sound filled with driving beats, second-line rhythms, twangy electric guitar solos and well-placed blue notes.”
Eli Messinger - Amazon.com
"...firmly in a country vein, with a definite rock underpinning. Stuart can write, and the 11 tracks he wrote for this release are not only solid, but catchy, the kind you'll have a hard time getting out of your head."
Jim Trageser - San Diego North County Times
“Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons have hit pay-dirt once again with the release of their new album...one of the extraordinary in-studio recording productions of 2009. (5 stars)”
Robert Bartosh - Roots Music Report
“Stuart was smart to drop "of Johnny Cash" from his Bastard Sons, even with the Man in Black's approval. That novelty got in the way of the new Austinite's roots-bound direction on ‘Bend in the Road.'”
Margaret Moser - Austin Chronicle
“…pure Americana heart and soul…heavy, toe-tapping shuffle rhythms, adroit and stylish steel picking, and guitar work that approximates a train chooglin' down the track full steam ahead.”
Review of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash - "Walk Alone" - Rolling Stone
“Makes you remember why you liked Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Marty Robbins, not to mention Bastard Sons’ adopted dad.”
Review of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash - "Walk Alone" - New York Post
“Captures the lonesomeness of Cash, the stripped-down melodies of Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen, the rowdiness of Steve Earle and morphs them into a captivating collection that blends twang and sophistication.”
Review of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash - "Distance Between" - Billboard