Inaugural Inductees to the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame Announced

October 26, 2013 - By Trigger  //  News  //  42 Comments

outlaw-music-hall-of-fameThe inaugural inductees to the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame set to open in the Spring of 2014 in Lynchburg, TN have been unveiled. In an event carried live during a 3-day concert in Altamont, TN, the 17 initial inductees were announced in two different categories: Pioneers/Innovators (Pre-1970), and Highwaymen (1970-1990).

Along with the official inductees, the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame also announced Guardian Award winners. The Guardian Award is not a Hall of Fame induction, but a one-year award meant to honor an artist’s hard work and unwavering commitment to their music and their fans and best exemplify the tradition of those who came before them. The Hall of Fame also announced that fans will be able to vote on Guardian Award winners in the upcoming years.


Pioneers/Innovators Pre-1970

  • Hank Williams Sr.
  • Loretta Lynn
  • The Carter Family 
  • Bobby Bare
  • Chris Gantry 

Highwaymen (1970-1990)

  • Willie Nelson
  • Waylon Jennings
  • David Allan Coe
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Merle Haggard
  • Johnny Cash
  • Johnny Paycheck
  • Sammi Smith 
  • Steve Young
  • Jessi Colter
  • Hank Williams Jr. 
  • Billy Joe Shaver

Guardian Award

  • Dallas Moore
  • Wayne Mills
  • Hank Williams III
  • Jamey Johnson
  • Whitey Morgan 

The Hall of Fame is dedicated to those artists, both musicians and songwriters, whose work best exemplifies the qualities of the Outlaw movement that first began in the 1970′s and has gained renewed momentum as an alternative to the current Nashville pop country scene. In doing so it will place the spotlight on music firmly attached to the roots of country. Moreover, the Hall of Fame will educate the public about Outlaw country, memorialize founders of the genre—such as Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Jessi Colter—recognize current Outlaw artists, and provide a platform for them and for the independent record labels who currently have little if any voice in the industry.

The facility, due to open in spring of 2014, will encompass more than 5,000 square feet and feature a state-of-the-art layout, including interactive displays. There will also be a studio to allow for live broadcasts to be streamed over the Internet. Located on the town square in Lynchburg, the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame will sponsor a concert series each April to November to showcase independent roots country artists.

42 Comments to “Inaugural Inductees to the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame Announced”

  • About the only name I thought would be on the original list that didn’t make it was Tompall Glaser.

    • I’ll say this.

      I’ve been sort of holding my tongue and reserving opinion about this whole Hall of Fame business to wait and see how it all shakes out, and I may have some more opinions to give soon. Overall, I can’t see a reason not to be positive about it. But having said that, if I was given one vote and only one person to put in such an institution, it would be Tompall Glaser. And about the only people I can justify in my brain putting in before him if I had no other choice would be Willie, Waylon, Kris, and Bobby Bare. But it wasn’t my decision to make, and it goes without saying when it comes to this Hall of Fame business that decisions to induct folks will always be second guessed. Anybody who thinks these are easy decisions to make is a fool.

      • Yeah I agree it’s always easy to second guess these kind of things. Do you know how often they are going to induct new members? Every year? I just hope they don’t go crazy thinking they have to nominate a certain amount of people every year or something like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which is out of control. Because if they follow there lead Rascal Flatts will be in the Outlaw Hall Of Fame in about five years. Would also be cool if the living inductees would make appearances at the HOF.

        • I’m sure it will be every year. I have found myself calling on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame example myself with this, and I think the Outlaw Hall of Fame would be wise to take care in who it inducts so it doesn’t become the laughing stock of an institution the Rock HOF has become. But I don’t think it’s fair to assume each year we’ll see 17 inductees. This is just the first year, and there’s probably a bunch of obvious names you just want to get out of the way.

          And when talking about all of this stuff in the long term, let’s not forget the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame is still mostly idea, and just a little bit brick and mortar. It must prove its viability if there’s going to be future classes.

      • I think the reason that Tompall Glaser was not included is that he was more involved on the business and production side of the Outlaw movement than on the singing side. This list seems to focus largely on the singers.

        • While he did own the studio that was kinda the hangout for many of the Outlaws he also had a number of minor hits and he took the Kris Kristofferson song ‘Lovin’ You Was Easier’ to #2 on the country charts with his brothers which alone gives him more singing success than a couple of the other inductees. He should be in period.

        • That’s the thing. This is the misconception about Tompall that is completely untrue. Take away the whole Hillbilly Central thing. Forget that it was his secretary, Hazel Smith, that coined the term “Outlaws.” Take away the fact that with Bobby Bare, Tompall was the primary man that set the principles of what an Outlaw was while Willie and Waylon were still playing company men for RCA. And what you have left is Tompall spending 20 years fronting Tompall and the Glaser Brothers, backing up Marty Robbins, contributing one of the most influential 3-part harmony styles in the history of country music, performing on the Grand Ole Opry as invited members, let alone the hits Tompall wrote or performed like “Streets of Baltimore.”

          This whole idea that Tompall was simply some behind-the-scenes player has always been an unfair assessment, and if this was used as a reason to not include him here, which I’m not saying it was, this would be the mother of all insults coming from an institution built specifically to make sure that people like Tompall don’t get wronged by history.

          All that said, I’m sure Tompall will be inducted in the coming years.


          • I agree about Tompall.

            He spent a career in the shadows instead of headlining shows.

            He is a historically unsung founder of Outlaw music.

          • I absolutely agree with you. There are so many misconceptions and simply untruths about The Great Tompall. Tompall was the hub of the whole Outlaw movement. There would be no independent artists is Nashville today if it weren’t for Tompall Glaser. He was a true pioneer, and incredible singer and had the guts to stay in Nashville and fight the established ways of doing things. All in the name of artists rights. He pissed off plenty of people along the way but music was better for it. It is appalling that Tompall was left of the inaugural list, and by all rights should have been the first name on there! He was THE Outlaw. When will he ever get the respect and recognition that he earned?

  • Cool. I’m rooting this project & the people behind it.

    I’ll go ahead and add my obligatory 2 cents about oversights / future inductees:

    Projecting the “outlaw” concept into the past, I’m surprised The Carter Family would be included on this list as opposed to say, Jimmie Rodgers. Neither were really musical outlaws in the sense of staging a battle over creative control, but I still tend to associate the outlaw concept with the rake/rounder archetype that Jimmie Rodgers originated in “hillbilly music” at the time. The Carter Family really represented the other side of country: the protestant domestic “family” group. But whatever, I love the Carters & you might argue they just belong in any American music-based Hall of Fame.

    Also, I wonder if a guy like Cowboy Jack Clement would belong as an inductee. He produced Waylon, Townes Van Zandt, Johnny Cash on Sun Records, and the Highwaymen, the literal embodiment of an outlaw supergroup. He was a free spirit who was mporant in the lives of many independant-minded artists & it his Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa served as musical safe haven for many of them.

    Best of luck to everyone involved in this project, I’m looking forward to it.

    • I was kinda thinking the same thing about the Carter Family, as much as I love them (and I really, really do love them), they just don’t really have that Outlaw feel to them. But like you said, they pretty much deserve a place in any sort of country or roots hall of fame.

      Another name I would mention along with Jimmie Rodgers would be Dock Boggs. I’d say he deserves a place as well.

  • Steve Young and Sammi Smith (both good choices, don’t get me wrong) but no Townes or Guy Clark?

    • One thing that I’m happy with is that they included a couple of women in their inaugural class. Even if there are a couple of men we could argue belong there before them, it shows that there will be no exclusions or oversights of women, which happens way too often.

  • Just out of total curiosity, would anyone consider Buck Owens to be outlaw? Merle Haggard being on this list (and he deserves to be) brings up Bakersfield’s relationship to the outlaw movement. It certainly has always been outside the Nashville orbit, but is also sort of its own thing. Just interested what everyone thinks…

    • Capitol Records, which most of the Bakersfield Sound folks were signed to wasn’t nearly as restrictive as Nashville’s major labels, because Capitol was located right down the street in LA, and so you didn’t have the middle management layer that was one of the fundamental causes of Nashville’s restrictive environment at the time.

      I personally wouldn’t consider Buck Owens or Merle Haggard Outlaws in the traditional sense because they never had to fight for their creative freedom. Certainly there were other elements to their approach that embodied the Outlaw spirit, so I don’t necessarily have a problem with such inductions, but that starts leading you down the slippery slope of what you want to define an “Outlaw” as.

      • I just read that Merle and some of the other Bakersfield Sound artists were signed to Tally Records. What happened to Tally Records eventually?

      • The loosening of criteria is an ongoing problem for all HOFs it seems. The Rock HOF is the most obvious example but sports HOFs are having the same problems. The difference with something like Outlaw is you can be extraordinarily successful and talented and be an Outlaw and you can be extraordinarily successful and talented and NOT be an Outlaw. Buck and Merle are two of my favorites but I don’t consider them Outlaws and was a little surprised to see Merle on the list.

  • Good to see Johnny Paycheck on this list. I think that he tends to be a tad underrated nowadays.

    • Johnny Paycheck personifies Outlaw music.

      He had a God-give voice which wass a thing of beauty.

  • Wonder why George Jones is never thought of or mentioned in the same circles as these “Outlaws”? I think he was wilder and crazier than any of these guys and his music is always respected alongside theirs. George was a reckless outlaw somebitch. Wonder why people think of him in a more subdued “Possum” sense instead of the true outlaw way he always was?
    P.S. nearly everyone on this inaugural induction list covered one of George’s hits at one time or another on the road to their outlaw legacy…

    • As far as I know, George Jones did not have to battle with his record label to gain creative freedom (at least not to the same extent as the artists in the “Highwaymen” category of the inductees). However, in my opinion, he still should have been included in the Pioneers/Innovators category.

    • Plenty of singers are do crazy things and get in trouble with the Law, but that doesn’t make them Outlaw Country.

      George Jones always plaid traditional country, though some of his songs had a bit of Nashville Sound to them, but nothing really sounded that Outlaw to me. Not that they aren’t great.

      • In defense of The Possum, he stuck with traditional country during the pop country outburst of the 70s (as well as the 80s and 90s) involving Olivia Newton-John and John Denver and helped spearhead the creation of an organization devoted to preserving traditional country music. Trigger touched on this with his 1975 CMAs/Charlie Rich piece.

        Pretty outlaw if you ask me.

        • Unlike half the list of inductees, Jones could actually sing and never had a problem getting signed by record labels, so in many’s eyes he doesn’t embody an outlaw. Also unlike half of the list above, Jones never tried to market himself as an outlaw.

          Big fan of Paycheck, but he wasn’t considered “outlaw country” until his record label tried to ride the coattails of the outlaw movements success and begin marketing him as an outlaw.

          • Listen to Paycheck’s output when he was on Little Darlin’ Records, the indie label he co-founded with Aubrey Mayhew.

  • I would have liked to see Dale Watson get a Guardian award.

  • Trigger,

    Just a friendly correction–most of the Bakersfield Sound acts were on Capitol Records.

    • What did I say? … Oh jeez, it was late. Yes, Capitol, not Colombia. I will correct that.

  • Bob Wayne should be getting the Guardian Award as well in my opinion.

  • I love how the hank williams trio is included in all levels of this inaugural event. Very fitting

  • Just my opinion but I like the list. There is no one I’d take off the list however I would move Johnny Cash to the pre 1970 list and I would add Guy Clark and Townes Van Zant. Maybe next year along with RWH.

  • Good list ! Hopefully next year will see Tompall on the list as well as Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker and Ray Wylie Hubbard.

  • Nice list congrats to all of them.

  • I like the list. This is a ongoing HOF and you need to bring artists in each year, so we can argue who should be on this list, but no doubt they will make it in in the future. Given there is somewhat of a limited supply of true outlaw artists, they need to spread the quality of who gets in over many years to get this to really build.

    I love the Guardian Award. I think they got is spot on for the first class. This award I think will be as important as who gets in the HOF each year.

  • Billy Joe? Hell yea! I wish they would get all the living members together for a show. That would be worth a trip to Tennessee

    • Billy Joe Shaver!

  • 1) Glad to see DAC is getting some respect.
    2) What about Wayne The Train as a guardian award as well.
    3) Maybe going off a little but anyone ever here of Jerry Lee Lewis. God damn if he isn’t an outlaw then who is?
    4) Hasil Adkins, to quote Hank 3 “No other mother fucker was talkin’ about cuttin’ off heads, and puttin’ them on there wall back in the 50s.”

  • I like the effort overall. Little curious, like Trigger, about how it is going to play out and what the definition of ‘outlaw’ is going to wind up being. I’m hoping it’s more than ‘damn I loved old Hoss and sure as shit my stuff sounds like his.’ Not saying that’s the angle they’re taking at present, but it’s something I hear out and about and it worries me. The term means so much more than being a whackjob, and in its purest essence it would seem to preclude artists who are emulating anyone at all instead of following their own trails.

    But regardless it’s good to see the groundswell of support and concrete action taking place.

    Only quibble I have with the list is that Jackson Taylor isn’t on the Guardian horizon. None of us can who whether a given artist is more or less true to their craft than another. So I won’t do that. But I will say I’ve never encountered anyone more ferociously dedicated to their music, to doing it their own way, and to telling worthwhile stories in the process.

  • Im friends with lot of people involved with this Outlaw Hall of Fame. Its all brand new and needs more support from people who love the genre. I am in the impression that its very bare boned. I really wanted to go to this show but had lots to do to try to help out a new bar over here. Sorry if the winners here isnt up to everyone’s standards but its a good start to something great and grass roots. Be involved be vocal and get ready to party over there next year when it officially has its grand opening.

  • Awww Hell, All hail The Outlaw Hall Of Fame train! Great idea, I just hope it stays the right track and is not engineered by Gaylord Interprises.

  • We will never agree 100 per cent on nominees in most any hall of fame but I am excited to see the recognition of some names that are, for the most part, overlooked in the industry. Extremely happy to see Steve Young included. I also think Larry Jon Wilson should be on that list. Goodness knows he fought for creative freedom. He chose NOT to fight and just make music and it’s some great music.

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