My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

CD Giveaway: Mark Chesnutt – ‘Outlaw’

Congratulations to:  Dee, Jake, Lorendasue, Adam, and Stephanie.  We’ll be contacting you shortly to get your shipping information.  Thanks for commenting everybody, and we hope you come back for our George Jones Spotlight all throughout August.

The Outlaw movement, which reached the peak of its popularity in the late 1970s, was a backlash against the then-prevalent Nashville Sound. The two most famous outlaws were Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, both Nashville veterans whose careers skyrocketed when they were given creative control, which they used to challenge the conventional wisdom of the day. Other famous outlaws included David Allan Coe, Tompall Glaser, Hank Williams Jr., Kris Kristofferson, and Jessi Colter. The first country album to earn platinum certifcation was a 1976 compilation album released by RCA called Wanted! The Outlaws, which included tracks from Waylon, Willie, Glaser and Colter.

Our June spotlight artist Mark Chesnutt pays tribute to these musical outlaws with his latest album Outlaw, which I reviewed earlier this month. It’s an interesting project for Mark, since he generally has not been thought of as a part of any outlaw movement. So that leads us to the question:

Who are today’s Outlaws and why are they considered as such? Five lucky people who answer that question between now and midnight on June 30 will win a copy of Mark Chesnutt’s Outlaw CD.

24 responses to “CD Giveaway: Mark Chesnutt – ‘Outlaw’

  1. Andrew June 14, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Jamey Johnson has to be foremost among today’s outlaws. Who else in today’s country music would have done a song like “High Cost of Living” and even released it as a single?

  2. Stephanie June 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I consider Miranda Lambert an outlaw in today’s Nashville. I believe she makes her music her way and has succeeded with very little support from country radio.

  3. dale schmucker June 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    willie nelson. at his age he still “smokes” dont pay taxes, He is in trouble with the irs and still tours non stop. not bad for an old timer!!!!

  4. pwdennis June 14, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Impossible question in that there really aren’t any “outlaws” with major label deals. Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson seem like the obvious picks to most people but my choice would be someone like Jim Lauderdale (whom I like a lot) or Todd Snider (who is not my cup of tea)

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  6. Adam Stark June 15, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I think Jackson Taylor would be considered one of today’s outlaws. He writes whatever he wants, and he’s not politically correct. He also isn’t interested in shaping himself into the Nashville mold. Plus, his music is country and not pop!

  7. lorendasue June 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    My primary definition of outlaws are those artists who achieve commercial success through unconventional means. Toby Keith has always fought for creative control of his music, ending with his status today as owner/artist of an independent label and one of the most-played artists on radio of the last decade. And he’s done it without being recognized by the industry associations in many years when he was the most commercially successful artist in country music.

    Sometimes, however, I think that real outlaws in country music are those that are never seen on CMT (when it deems it appropriate to actually play country videos) and GAC, and who record their music outside of the norms set down in Nashville. Those who perform 200 dates a year in small venues and sell most of their albums at their shows. Those who find a way to make a living making music, but will never be seen on a national television show. Those artists who have more talent in their little finger than a majority of the persons who won CMT Music Awards last week, but I’ll never hear because they constantly work to do one thing – make music they love to play – instead of making music radio wants to play. Just like the Old West outlaws who often hid in order to avoid “the law,” today’s country music outlaws are often the unknowns who make music their way and try to stay hidden from those in the industry who would try to make their music conform to the “laws” of the industry. God bless them every one.

  8. Rick June 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    In mainstream country these days you have real outlaws like Jamey Johnson, ersatz outlaw wannabees like Eric Church, and horrorific artists who should be outlawed like Colt Ford! Jamey has the stubborn independent streak, rebellious attitude, and authenticity which distinguish all true male country music outlaws. And that crazy ass beard is just icing on the outlaw cake!

    For female artists I like to think of Those Darlin’s being outlaws just because they are so darn tawdry! A little bit of sleaze never hurt a true outlaws image. My female outlaw heroes though are probably Elizabeth Cook and Sunny Sweeney just because NO ONE is going to tell them what to do when it comes to making music! Well execpt for maybe Don Was and Scott Borchetta that is…

  9. Leeann Ward June 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I actually have to agree with Rick. I was going to say Elizabeth Cook and Sunny Sweeney as well. I’ve been listening to Outlaw Country on Sirius radio and it’s a breath of fresh air. I get to hear a lot of modern musical outlaws.

  10. Jake June 15, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Jamey Johnson is the easy answer but he certainly fits the bill.

  11. Derek June 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I don’t think any of the mainstream artists exhibit a true outlaw spirit. I’ve always thought that outlaws are the ones that blaze their own trail and stay true to themselves. The name that will probably appear the most in these comments is Jamey Johnson, but I thoroughly disagree. Jamey’s image is carefully crafted and maintained. That’s certainly not an example of Jamey staying true to himself. Also, his musical ‘sound’ is a carbon copy of Waylon Jennings. Do you think that is a coincidence? No. It’s all part of the image. In short, you’re not going to find a true outlaw in mainstream music.
    To Rick…
    You claim Jamey Johnson is an outlaw but Eric Church is just an “outlaw wannabee.” I’d like to hear your argument behind that. If I had to choose which one is more in line with the outlaw spirit, it would be Eric. Sure, his image is carefully crafted like the rest of them, but atleast he is bringing in all different kinds of influences and creating his own unique ‘sound.’ And Colt Ford has most definitely created his own ‘sound,’ mixing country lyrics with rap style arrangements. I hate it personally but I have to respect him for doing things his own way.

  12. highwayman3 June 15, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    All the good ones and most obvious are already mentioned. Jamey Johnson first and foremost comes to mind.

  13. Raina Smith June 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    The outlaw that comes to mind in my head is Toby Keith. Trace follows in there too.but Toby is still my first choice.

  14. Chad MacNeil June 17, 2010 at 9:41 am

    I don’t think in today’s world you have any “outlaws” who have made it to the mainstream in country music. For a huge Waylon fan such as myself, the term ought not be thrown around willy-nilly. I like Jamey Johnson alot, but how much is he really bucking the general trend of his record company, producer, etc. to make the music he wants? I’d like to think so, but doubt he has that kind of clout.

    Back when Waylon became an outlaw, he was an established act that had been around a decade or more, and even then had to threaten violence (legend says he pulled a gun in the studio with the RCA producer, Danny Davis). There was a true change in his musical direction at that point, in many ways, from his hair length to the harder edge to the songs and instrumentation. Chet Atkins especially did not like this changing of his Nashville Sound. I don’t think the conservative environment exists today that one could “buck” in any way. Waylon’s outlaw image wasn’t a persona. Through drugs and hard living, he became that person. Ultimately, it probably lead to his death (not dealing correctly with diabetes correctly is not a good idea).

    I don’t know many or any of the artists today that are below the mainstream, and doing their own thing. There is likely a reason for this, as the establishment hasn’t latched on to their style. The idea is to sell records, and the record companies go with what sells. Jamey Johnson does a great job, but I just don’t know how “real” he is.

    I see a comment here for Toby Keith, and i agree to a point. He struck out on his own, but his music really isn’t that much different than it was at the big labels. And now he’s merged with a larger label, so it shows me he is a businessman first, outlaw second.

    As I mentioned previously, I love Mark Chesnutt, and he does a great job on the old songs, but is not an outlaw either. I wish they still played him on the radio, however.

    • Razor X June 17, 2010 at 9:51 pm

      I’d say Jamey Johnson is pretty “real.” That Lonesome Song was independently produced and released when no major label in Nashville would give him a second glance. Mercury later re-released it, without requiring it to be re-recorded. So what you hear on that album is 100% “real.”

      • Chad MacNeil June 18, 2010 at 8:05 am

        I actually didn’t know about the independent part of that album. I’m glad to hear it, because I really like and own that CD. I want to believe in Jamey Johnson. I may be an old fart now who got the 45 of “Take This Job And Shove It” when I was 4, but I cannot listen to country radio these days. I love rock and roll too, so that’s what I listen to when I wanna rock out. I want country to be a bit more toned down, and radio sounds like rock pop to me. I’d love to see more Jamey Johnsons. I like this contest/thread, because I hope I can discover other artists here who play what I consider real country. It’s frustrating to go to the store, wanting new music, and not being able to find anything I think I’d like.

  15. Leeann Ward June 17, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I think we are using the term loosely. If we used it literally, you would be right that there are no “outlaws” in the mainstream.

    • J.R. Journey June 17, 2010 at 11:59 am

      Yes, if we define ‘outlaw’ by 1970s standards, today’s renegades seem tame in comparison. Still, by following the general trend the outlaw set and bucking the mainstream trends, lots of artists get the name hung on them, sometimes fittingly, sometimes not.

  16. Chad MacNeil June 17, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I would argue (friendly, of course) that outlaw was not really a term used in country music until Waylon, Willie, and company hit on it in the 70’s. Without them, Mark Chesnutt’s CD isn’t called Outlaw, and we aren’t discussing the subject. So either you are a true outlaw in terms of doing your own thing, or a wannabe. I love Jamey Johnson’s “That Lonesome Song”, and I guess that’s as close as we are gonna get. If so, it ain’t bad. Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way? 🙂

  17. Dee June 17, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    My favorite outlaw is Tanya Tucker – always will be.

    I am not sure anybody is an outlaw today like DAC or Waylon/Willie or Tanya were in their prime.

    But if I had to pick one, I would go with Miranda Lambert – she has the bad-ass persona on stage and is playing her brand of country music and not trying to be the pop cross-over queen.

    She knows she won’t sell the most records or win the most awards doing it, but she is doing it her way….. that is the common thread between her and the aforementioned rebels.

  18. andy June 28, 2010 at 4:09 am

    I’d go for Jamey Johnson, Rosanne Cash, Elizabeth Cook , Miranda Lambert, Buddy Miller and to a degree Joey+Rory. Artists who stick to the true core of country regardless of whether it gets commercial success or not but have critical acclaim

  19. Matt June 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Since there’s only 24 hours in a day I gotta reply “No Comment” in response to the current answers. Hank, Waylon and Willie each unique in their own way created an individual sound straight from their roots which I believe is how the term “Outlaw” was born. As for today’s musicians, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Roger Creager and Stony LaRue are three artists who I feel will someday fall into this small group of musicians given the term “Outlaws”.

  20. tlc.nutt January 30, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Insight to question of term: OUTLAW.
    What the true meaning defined cultural background, life experiences, and HELL, damn it to all hell and back.
    Southern terms are so refreshing. Mind you, I don’t give a damn about grammar. I don’t give two cents nor a crows foot about another’s judgement.
    That said. Artistic expression is simple. A feeling that’s gotta come outta you or it’s gonna explode crap everywhere. Okay, non-conventional in thought as well as verse.
    Bet I have your attention?
    Yay, I do. Slightly cocky and extremely intense in all things I feel, see,and heck, do. Yay! Didn’t say he’ll, damn, or any other cuss word to offense the sensitive or hollier than you, me… Damn. Most people.
    Lets face it. Music sucks down right. All genres. As an artist in another medium I can see it clear as day.
    The artist is and was your first activist. The journalist who left an imprint of a moment in time that moved others to feel, know, and act in ways that may or may not have always been right.
    Yet… They sure as day made past “others” and present “others” truly think.
    Now, back to the true reason for this insight I’ve decided to lay out there for ya as a nice Sunday come to meetin’ spread.
    Yes sir’e…. All that good stuff like fried chicken that just the sight of it makes your mouth water. Oh’ and mind you not to forget that good ole’ tater salad!
    Ok… Damn. Mouth watering.
    So, if point isn’t being seen yet?
    Then guess my love of description should just go for the heart of the matter.
    Anybody ever watch Gun Smoke? Probably to old yur’ the young’uns here. Ok. Let me see? Ya say Miranda Lambert.
    Unique voice with a rather feisty attitude thatcan smooth ya over like a good hot buttered roll!
    Yeah, I’d consider her … Semi-rebellious.
    Yet another here we go again. A label. Another dang dab nabbit term!
    All ya radio and labels, EXCUSE ME… I mean major, mostly Ignorant and shall we say, quite full in near shy of it… SHIT. CACA.
    Folks, good music is just that. The genre is just like a color or expression the artist uses to create a art work that gives the viewer… and in this format… Expression.
    All the same.
    If it moves you inside to feel. To want. To take a ride on a roller coaster of emotions that play like an artists palette of colors upon a canvas, then it’s damn good shit!
    Suggest some look into some artist past and present. Kandinsky…. Pretty cool theory’s he had.
    Pretty insightful.
    Damn it if I’m not reminded of Chris Christopherson! A true poet. A artist of word. Expression flowed over you. Moved you. Gave you feelings I be you never thought you had in you. All the greats and legends did.
    Yet, back to point. They did it their way. He’ll be damned. If the label didn’t like it then they’d do it anyways. Reason? It’s the emotion and expression they feel. The true artist genius and ability to move you. Give you a escape from or to revisit a emotion that touched your soul good or bad.
    Damn! To many greats in all genres to even write… Yet, you know them. The true outlaw. The one who put it out there for you to feel all gritty and bare as their soul laid out for ya on a table to exam. All bare,raw, and so emotional it MADE YOU FEEL.
    What? You say what? Or you already know if you truly grasp the meaning of this word or label that others have placed on someone willing to open themselves up and be vulnerable and I afraid to express what the feel about anything that matters to them. If at that moment even if its an od’ to a person who pays tribute to ones (he/she) feel are and will be outlaws for their drive and to he’ll with ya and what corporate says sales. Force feeds the public like little chicks with mouths open waiting for that worm to be shouted down their throat. Force feed shit then all you expect is shit.
    Only one catch?
    Yeah, ya know… People won’t take it for long. Kinda like the government shoving crap down “our” throats.
    Pretty soon someone stands up and says, to hell with ya! Take it and shove it up your own ass and give me a better person who can stand up and do the right thing.
    Alright. Political view was just a bonus.
    Got ya pissed or something. My point? Ya FELT something.
    Problem with music.
    It’s watered down like a fine whiskey some silly goose who wants to look tough but can’t handle the fore so they pretend. They add ice.
    So you get watered down fine whiskey with half the good shit and then they end up drinking twice as much while spending extra to do what? Feel good? Sad and wholler? Mellow and chill? It’s whatever floats your boat.
    As for the musician, Mark Chesnutt.
    Most don’t know it but he did say no to labels. Pissed quite a few fellers and ladies… Do I really want to call them these fine names or what’s really on my mind?
    Well, leave that to your imagination. Use it. It’s fun!
    Marks always been opinionated and sometimes down right bullheaded. Yet, he gave in here and there at first to labels and producers that bullied him and pressed down so hard he had to do it even at times when the songs he felt weren’t right for him or that the people were using unethical tactics to pressure.
    I promise ya all of the artists are pressured to do shit they feel totally against.
    Another thing to think about. Just throwing it out there… ,maybe just a tiny bit of food for thought. A lot of the artists get the ego trip cause none re told no.
    Then they loose a bit of themselves…. The term selling out to the devil comes instantly to my mind. Yeah, this is so true and trust me…. I should know. Won’t tell how cause I like my privacy, but I really do know.
    I’d say, leave “that” outside or don’t come in. You put your britches on just like all the rest and just cause your given the ” star ride” out there on the road… It stays there. Mind you be nice and keep your feet grounded and don’t forget where ya come from!
    Okay, gave myself away a slight bit. Yawl can have a good time picking part my grammar. Heck if I care. Term … Outlaw.
    Means I don’t care and do what I dang we’ll please. The attitude is I’m gonna say what I want and do what I want.
    Now the catch…
    A true outlaw. One who stands up for the down-trodden. The need that isn’t acknowledged and gives it a voice or a expression. A medium to be made aware of the travesties and wrongdoings in this world.
    There’s a respect. A humble and quite shy perk to these sensitive souls given a gift to express and moves others with pure unadulterated emotion.
    The voice that’s unique. It may have a quality that’s familiar as its also a homage to heros the artist admired and strived to be like. Yet, different. Strong with an ability to move you beyond words. Rich and full of body like a creat Chardonnay that leaves your mouth watering for more as the notes play across your tongue.
    So, folks… As you read this play of thoughts expressed by words of others written in ways that neither move me nor impress me.
    Remember…. It’s just an opinion. Their a dime a dozen and as half baked as gooey chocolate chip cookies.. Don’t mind that in the least.
    Yum! Guess I need to make some soon. Pretty dang soon. That sound purty good right now.
    As you read you will see I write as I speak. I care not if you think my grammar sucks. Pretty much it does… Laughing! Actually rolling…. Okay, okay. Now just giggling. See?
    I am a dyslexic. Also, if ya hadn’t noticed, ADHD.
    If ya didn’t know, most artistic people is not 99% are. It allows them to think outside the box. Give form to expression. To create.
    So, folks…. Mark Chesnutt is a outlaw. He pretty much says what he feels and does what he wants. He found himself as he grew into his voice. All greats no matter their medium grow into themselves… Or you wouldn’t have LEGENDS!
    Hats off to all the legends who have inspired us. God bless those that are now unafraid to make mistakes . Take chances. Just be themselves, the same as they were when someone stumbled across them and said, wow!
    That’s cool. I like that… I want more. Then pray they don’t change. I do.
    May the fine tuning go away and let the real singers emerge. Glazed over is just like a green screen it’s not a true expression. A fallacy. Argue this point if you want but if a person has to be fine tuned then they have no right in the studio in the first place.
    The rawness of the true voice enhanced by their feeling at that moment and time as they lay down a track…. That’s magic.
    May it find its way back.
    My prayer. My craving is for the true emotions to be laid out bare. Thank God for all greats in all genres. A certain young woman from a small southeast Texas town on the border of Lousiana comes to mind. She didn’t give a damn. Her rawness and total vulnerability was so moving I can’t help but feel it even now as her voice plays across the folds of my mind. Magnificent! Guess… Janis Joplin.
    George Jones, Benny Barnes, Pasty Cline, Cash, Willie Nelson… The list goes on and on. Elvis! Wow. All I can say, WOW!
    His gospel makes me tremble.
    Mark Chesnutt?
    A man of few words. If he talks, listen. He only says what he means. To entertain and be apart of a honkytonk crowd… He lives for it. Then if any have been fortunate to see him live… He gives the crowd a little of his Essenes. He will play sometimes if show was only meant to be a 90 minute set? He’ll give you more and interact with the crowd. They are the ones who matter. This simple soul lives to perform and move others. Give them the raw emotions of a balled to the edgy Cajun flavors of his upbringing.
    He’s a true outlaw and is nowa living legend in his own right.
    May all our musicians and artists be given respect for the pure bravery of putting themselves out there for you to be entertained. Even if some belittle and have no liking for their style or flavor. Be a good listener and give them all credit for getting up thereof that stage fear and nerves mixed with adrenaline. To perform for you, the audience.
    Time to respect and show the true gifted artists their appreciated. To hell with corporate ran radio stations that have no clue and their head up there, well you know bottoms up! Grinning.
    Come on, I know you are to even if ya agree with me or not.
    Go It won’t kill ya… Oops! Wait!!! A few just, sorry there. Maybe they just fainted. Fingers crossed.
    Scouts honor.
    So… That’s all folks! Outta here. Have fun tearing this apart grammatically and all. I had fun writing it. Then again, that’s like I said, it’s all that matters.

  21. tlc.nutt January 30, 2014 at 8:29 am

    To damn early and tired so as I said. Grammar out the door but you can figure out autocorrect fixed hell and all other stuff I’m sure you can figure out.
    Sincerely, one tired person. Off to sleep.
    Damn, right! Morning… Back to work. Pray my spelling isn’t screwed up the rest of the day as it was here.
    No matter I am sure you’ll get my drift. Should’ve proof read but then again. Free form is so much fun and leaves all you poor grammar nazi’s with lots to do! Have at it… Good day to ya and live it well.

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