Part biographies of these three legendary musicians and part exploration of the changing Nashville music scene in the late ‘60s, OUTLAW is a fascinating and in-depth look at a major turning point in country music and the formidable forces behind that change. Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson picked up on the street vibes of the late 60’s and early 70’s-the protestors, the feminists, the reactions to the Vietnam War, racial tensions, changing political factions - and began inserting those notions into their music. They resisted the country music industry’s unwritten rules, which prescribed the length, the meter, and the content of songs as well as how they were recorded.
From the late ‘60s when all three found themselves in Nashville, writing songs, riffing with fellow songwriters and musicians, and vying for recording contracts, they established a new genre of country music and rock that change the recording industry for good.
Acclaimed author Michael Streissguth tracks the outlaw paths of Waylon, Willie and Kris, but despite their looming presence, he offers a broad portrait of the outlaw in Nashville, making room for a diverse and stories secondary cast including Johnny Cash, Rodney Crowell, Kinky Friedman, Billy Joe Shaver, among others. Nashville also serves as an important character in this exploration of outlaw country-and a lively one. The city was rife with political activism and musical experimentation, and its West End became Nashville’s very own Greenwich Village.
OUTLAW is a comprehensive and thoughtful examination of fascinating shift in country music and the three unbelievably talented musicians who forged the way.