Artist-in-Residence Marty Stuart to Unveil Song About Nashville’s Legendary Steam Locomotive No. 576 at Sept. 25 Country Music Hall of Fame Concert
‘Songs That Tell a Story’ Show to include “The Duchess” to Honor History, Raise Funds for Restoration
NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Five-time GRAMMY-winning artist Marty Stuart loves a good country ballad, and so many of them revolve around trains. Now he and his longtime bandmate, Harry Stinson of the Fabulous Superlatives, have written a song to capture the spirit and history of Nashville’s most iconic steam engine: Locomotive No. 576. The World War II-era J3 Class Locomotive served Nashville’s Union Station for years before being retired to Centennial Park, where it sat for 65 years. No. 576 is now undergoing a complete restoration, and will soon be put back into service pulling passenger excursions from downtown Nashville.
“The Duchess (Queen of the Dixie Line)” will be unveiled as part of Stuart’s ‘Songs That Tell a Story’ acoustic show at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Wednesday, September 25, at 8 p.m. in the CMA Theater. The song will be available for download on music streaming channels afterward, with all funds going to support the non-profit Nashville Steam Preservation Society’s restoration of No. 576. The organization anticipates the $2+ million project will take three to four years to complete, a timeline that is dependent upon fundraising.
“Harry and I both have a long history with this train, as do so many others. Johnny Cash was photographed for LIFE Magazine in front of it, and that guitar he’s holding is now one of my prized possessions. When you think about the soldiers that rode behind this engine to war, or the folks who traveled on it to Memphis and Atlanta, or the kids who dreamed about great adventures while climbing on it in the park – that’s why we wrote this song,” Stuart said. “We call her The Duchess, and she deserves to be honored. I offered myself to the Nashville Steam organization to let me be the hood ornament on the front of this campaign, and I’ll help any way I can to raise the funds and get her rolling again.”
This fall is perfect timing for the song’s release, with the release of Ken Burns’ eight-part documentary “Country Music” on PBS beginning on September 15. Stuart features prominently in the film, as do old locomotives that played such an important role in the lives and emotions of countless hit songs and the people who wrote and performed them.
To date, the Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) has raised nearly $1 million toward the total project cost, and is deep into the restoration at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum, located in the Railyard District just east of downtown Nashville. The organization hopes the song will bring much-needed awareness and funding to the campaign. “It takes a community to be successful with a project of this scale, and we are very thankful of the efforts of supporters like Marty and Harry. We have a couple hundred volunteers, all of whom are contributing their unique talents and expertise,” said NSPS President Shane Meador, who has led the restoration of several historic locomotives around the country.