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Marty Brown

Back in the 1990s, singer-songwriter Marty Brown of Simpson County signed with MCA Records  and released four studio albums and charted one single, “It Must Be the Rain,” on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

However, his career had waned until his wife, Shellie, tricked him into trying out for “America’s Got Talent” in 2013. She signed him up for the audition in Nashville.

Brown sang the Bob Dylan song “Make You Feel My Love.”

“When he hit that last note, they just jumped to their feet,” she recalled.

He beat out about 5,000 people in that first round.

His wife thinks he sings better than he did in the ‘90s. “His voice is more full, rich, and he’s just experienced so much more, you know, than he had when he was in his twenties,” she said. “And people connect with that. He’s just a good old country boy. When he gets on that stage, it’s just like an inner spirit that just takes over him. … It’s a gift.”

The video of his performance got 6 million views online, he recalled. “When you get that many views online, the big dogs start a-knocking,” he said. Although he didn’t win the competition, he attracted the attention of top music producer Robert Keith Stegall.

Now he is once again in the recording studio. Stegall says Brown is dedicated and extremely talented. “Success to him is writing a great song and performing it,” said Stegall. “If the other stuff happens with it, then, wow. But that’s where he comes from.”

Brown writes many of his own songs. “You don’t just have something to sing. You’ve got something to say,” he said.

In the liner notes on his albums, he credits a higher power for his inspiration. “You know God is the creator. I only hold the pen,” he explained.