KBEC on Outlaw Country Music

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Outlaw Music With KBEC


Remember that urge to go crazy? These people wrote that feeling down and wrapped it in music.  Outlaw music began in the early 1960s in Texas, as a sub genre to country music. It took off in the late 1960s and 1970s. The reason for the creation of this genre was as a response to the rise of the Nashville sound, developed by music producers that softened the honky tonk sound that was dominant in country. Soon after that, many country artists began to chase after the idea of making something new.

Outlaw music became huge, with artists writing their own material and refusing to conform to society. Country music itself was developing well, and while Nashville was the domain of the mainstream country, Lubbock and Austin became a hotbed for outlaw music. It's believed that the term "outlaw country" was taken form a song "Ladies Love Outlaws" that emphasized singers who grew out their hair and had the scruffy look in comparison to the clean cut country singers. The term was coined by David Allan Coe, a patched member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The songs were about drinking, drugs, hard working men and honky tonk heroes. The music took a definite leap from country, being more rock and roll based with hardly any strings in the background.


Waylon Jennings and Nelson for example, had their careers revived by the movement. Many others such as Johnny Cash also benefited from this revival after his life albums like At Folsom Prison. Other artists, such as Jessi Colter, achieved their own outlaw status, further marketing bad girls, with songs like "Hell on Heels" by the Pistol Annies and "Black Cadillac" by Rosanne Cash.

These are the most notable artist in this field for outlaw music:

  • Pistol Annies
  • Bobby Bare
  • Bobby Bare Jr.
  • Ryan Bingham
  • Jesse Brand
  • Johnny Cash    (click here for bio)
  • Rosanne Cash
  • Guy Clark
  • David Allan Coe
  • Jessi Colter
  • Elizabeth Cook
  • Rodney Crowell
  • Charlie Daniels
  • Justin Townes Earle
  • Steve Earle
  • Eli Radish Band
  • Joe Ely
  • Jamey Johnson
  • James Scott Bullard
  • Fifth on the Floor
  • Jimmie Dale Gilmore
  • Lost Gonzo Band
  • Merle Haggard (click here for bio)
  • Tom T. Hall
  • Butch Hancock
  • Wayne "The Train" Hancock
  • Emmylou Harris
  • Johny Hell
  • Ray Wylie Hubbard
  • Waylon Jennings
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Jim Lauderdale
  • James McMurty
  • Whitney Morgan and the 78's
  • Micheal Martin Murphy
  • Matt Mason
  • Buddy Miller
  • Willie Nelson
  • Gram Parsons
  • Johny Paycheck
  • Casey James Putnam
  • Leon Russell
  • Doug Sahm
  • Billy Joe Shaver
  • Sammi Smith
  • Todd Snider
  • Gary Stewart
  • Travis Tritt
  • Tanya Tucker (click here for bio)
  • Townes Van Zandt
  • Jerry Jeff Walker
  • Dale Watson
  • Bob Wayne
  • Hank Williams Jr.
  • Hank Williams III
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Steve Young
  • Ray Scott
  • Billy Don Burns
  • Aaron David Rodgers