Outlaw Country Essentials
In the mid-'70s, mavericks like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, who'd been struggling to find their place in country amidst Nashville’s slick countrypolitan dominance, quit trying to fit into the mainstream and carved out something for themselves. With stripped-down production, rock and soul influences, and a rebellious, countercultural mindset, they injected new life into country music, creating the outlaw country movement in the process. Outlaw auteurs like Guy Clark and Mickey Newbury were coming more from a singer/songwriter head, but their outside-the-box concoctions were part of the mix too. Of course, outlaw country didn't die out when the decade ended. Fresh faces like Steve Earle continued the conversation in the ‘80s, and even after the transformation of the country music industry by the turn of the millennium, artists like Jamey Johnson and Sturgill Simpson who'd grown up on classic outlaw country brought their own idiosyncrasies to the table.