A spring fashion profile by GQ Magazine puts Randy Travis, Chris Stapleton, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Jason Isbell in the sharpest threads for our benefit. The publication’s spring 2018 issue highlights each artist’s career achievements, sprinkling in colorful interview quotes alongside the portraits (shot by Robert Maxwell), which are the meat of the piece.
Styled by Mobalaji Dawodu, the clothes are expensive — Stuart and John Prine brought their own, but other artists put on blazers worth thousands (see Gill sporting a Versace piece worth $29,825) and shoes you wouldn’t want to step in mud in.
It was a family affair for some, as Stapleton is pictured with his wife, Morgane, who is expecting the couple’s twins, and Isbell and his wife Amanda Shires brought 2-year-old Mercy, who stole the show with his look.
Jackson was feeling nostalgic on the day of his shoot, thinking back to the ’70s when country music embraced pop infiltration with open arms. “Some of it was more pop than the stuff they’re making now!” he remembers.
At the time, Jackson looked to his idols like Conway Twitty and Charley Pride, hoping to find a sound that was more traditional. “People tell me over and over again that I’m the one that’s kept alive what little bit of country music’s left. I’m really proud of that, and that’s what I came to Nashville to do,” he says now, in 2018.
Stapleton’s relatively young career is also highlighted. The reigning CMA Album of the Year winner attributes his success to one philosophy: hard work. “You do the work and you put your head down and you keep doing the work,” he says. “And when you’re done doing that work, you go do some more work.”
Stuart admits he sees himself as a bridge between traditional styles and more contemporary sounds, but he makes a point to honor the classics. The icon says he’s a collector of country music memorabilia and plans to open his own museum called Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music someday. He’s got Johnny Cash‘s first black suit and the boots Patsy Cline died in lined up for when that day comes.