It was 22 years ago that singer and songwriter Marty Brown released his debut album, High and Dry, on MCA Nashville. A fearless album from a new singer whose sound was more akin to Hank Williams than any of the era’s “hat act” superstars, High and Dry earned rave reviews and sold enough to earn him two additional releases on MCA–then one more for indie label HighTone Records in 1996.

After that, though, Brown seemed to disappear from the music scene. Fans of his honest honky-tonk style were left wondering if he’d simply given up on music.

Last week, the Kentucky native reappeared, seemingly out of nowhere, during an audition for the TV reality show America’s Got Talent. And he blew the audience–and all four judges–away.

Now 47 years old but still sporting a cowboy hat, thick Kentucky accent, and friendly demeanor, Brown performed not one of his (many) originals but a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” a song that’s been covered by, among others, Billy Joel, Adele, and Garth Brooks (watch Marty’s full performance of the song).

According to an interview that aired during his appearance on the show, Brown didn’t know he was even auditioning–his wife set it up and kept it a secret. “I tricked him,” his wife Shellie admitted.

The America’s Got Talent appearance has brought Brown more attention for his music than he’s received in well over a decade.

He reached a whole new set of ears who’d never heard of him; and at the same time, his older fans came out of the woodwork to once again sing his praises.



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