Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Outlaws of Nashville
Part biographies of these three legendary musicians and part exploration of the changing Nashville music scene in the late '60s, Outlaw is a fascinating 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 found themselves in Nashville, writing songs, riffing with fellow songwriters and musicians, and vying for recording contracts. All three picked up on the unrest the late 60's and early 70's - the protests, the feminists, the reactions to the Vietnam War, racial tensions, changing political factions - and began inserting those notions into their music. All three resisted the country music industry's unwritten rules, which prescribed the length, meter, and content of songs as well as how they were recorded, thus cementing themselves as the leaders of the outlaw movement. All three worked to establish a new genre of country music - one that ultimately changed the recording industry. Acclaimed author Michael Streissguth tracks the paths of Waylon, Willie and Kris, and offers a broad portrait of the outlaw movement in Nashville, making room for a diverse secondary cast including Johnny Cash, Rodney Crowell, Kinky Friedman, and Billy Joe Shaver, among others. Nashville also serves as an important - and lively - character in this exploration of outlaw country. 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 a fascinating shift in country music, and the three unbelievably talented musicians who forged the way.
"A biting, in-depth chronicle of Nashville's most tumultuous era told through the voices of iconic artists who used their music to accomplish significant changes in the music industry."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)