Outlaw Country has its roots tied to the music of the blues, rockabilly and honky tonk. Artists such as Hank Williams & Bob Wills from the 1940s and 50’s.

In 1970, Tompall Glaser opened up on 19th Ave S, one block w of 18th Ave S or commonly known as “Music Row”, Hillbilly Central.

Hillbilly Central 1970's
Hillbilly Central 1970’s

Tompall Glaser’s studio attracted artists such as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Kris Kristofferson and Kinky Friedman, Billy Bare, among others. Waylon’s first album through Hillbilly Central (Honky Tonk Heroes) of Billy Joe Shaver songs in 73 is what brought about everyone else breaking free of Music Row’s poisonous grasp. Bobby Bare’s 1966 song “Streets of Baltimore” was already pushing the boundaries of what was accepted on Music Row for his description of a woman leaving her husband to become a prostitute.

Outlaw Country rejected the status quo and rules of how to write and perform country music. Artists of the original outlaw music aside from doing it their way and no one else’s, went on to inspire present day artists in the same way. Thanks to the work and determination in sticking it to the man, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Billy Joe Shaver, Kris Kristofferson, Kinky Friedman, David Allan Coe, Jessi Coulter, Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, Tompall Glaser, Charlie Daniels, George Jones, Jerry Jeff Walker, Bobby Bare, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Tanya Tucker, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams Jr, among others.

Waylon Jennings & Tompall Glaser at Hillbilly Central
Waylon Jennings & Tompall Glaser at Hillbilly Central

Outlaw Country Coined

Two origins:

  1. Hazel Smith, a secretary and publicist of Waylon Jennings & Tompall Glaser who worked at Hillbilly Central in describing their music.
  2. The song, “Ladies Love Outlaws” written by Lee Clayton and sung by Waylon Jennings in 72.
Hazel Smith & Captain Midnight (Radio Personality)
Hazel Smith & Captain Midnight (Radio Personality)

Modern & Present Day “Outlaw Music”

Hank3, Whitey Morgan, Cody Jinks, Ward Davis, Tyler Childers, Alex Williams, Whiskey Myers, Whiskey Dick, Jamey Johnson, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Dale Watson, Colter Wall, Lee Ellis, Margo Price, Junior Brown, Dallas Moore, Charley Crockett, Rebel Son, Celtic Confederate, Charles Wesley Godwin, Shooter Jennings, Nick Shoulders, Jason Isbell, Sunny Sweeney, Uncle Goo, Wayne The Train Hancock, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle among others.

Outlaw Country and Bushwhacker Media

Outlaw Music or Outlaw Country Music was the result of artists refusal to go along with the Nashville Sound of the time. In lacking complete control of recording how they wanted, with the musicians they wanted, with the songs they wanted, Outlaw Music defied business as usual, Chet Atkins’ “pop country” of its day. What it came down to was Creative Control.

Bushwhacker Media was founded on that same principle, to keep Creative Control where it belongs, in the hands of the artist.