Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville

Michael Streissguth. It Books/HarperCollins, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-203818-0
In February 1976, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Willie Nelson, and Tompall Glaser and the Glaser Brothers released Wanted: The Outlaws!, building upon their respective growing statures in the world of country music. Wanted! became the first country album to sell a million copies. In this compulsively readable book, music historian Streissguth describes the contrast between the staid Nashville music scene of the late ’60s and early ’70s, and the dynamic new music filtering into the city from Los Angeles (Emmylou Harris), Texas (Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings), and South Carolina (Marshall Chapman). One by one, he introduces readers to the change-makers. Kris Kristofferson was a Texas boy who arrived fresh out of the service looking to score big as a songwriter, working many odd jobs until Johnny Cash took him under his wing and provided Kristofferson with the stability he needed to write. Jennings was devastated by Buddy Holly’s death (Jennings was a member of Holly’s band) and made his way to Nashville to work with RCA and Chet Atkins as his career developed. Nelson came to Nashville from Texas in 1960, but then turned around and went back, eventually meeting up with Jennings and others to infuse fresh spirit into country music. Streissguth uses this one group of musicians not only to capture the essence of Nashville in the 1970s, but to portray the social and cultural forces—the Vietnam War protests, the clash of Old South and New South, the Civil Rights movement—that led to tremendous changes in the country music industry at the time. Agent: James Fitzgerald, James Fitzgerald Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-203820-3
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-0-06-203819-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-226349-0
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