Bob Wayne & the Outlaw Carnies Concert Review

Monday night I got to see Bob Wayne & the Outlaw Carnies the way REAL country music should be seen: in a small town, in a small bar with a neon sign buzzing outside. Smoke was in the air and beer was flowing. Good times.

Following is my official concert review. If you poke around some bands sites, you might see one of my reviews for a concert or album. The reason I do this is because I
used to do this for a living, and there ain’t anybody out there covering these bands. So instead of bitching, I’m trying to do something about it.

Bob Wayne & the Outlaw Carnies concert review:

(Bob Wayne with Hank III’s famous Guild acoustic)

Bob Wayne & the Outlaw Carnies from Seattle are a strange brew, mixed from elements of country, metal, southern soul, and northwest misery. What you get is a concoction that smells like the festering sweat of unwashed bodies, diesel fuel, and drug residue. But if you can gulp that potion down, well then my friends, you have one hell of a ride ahead of you.

Bob Wayne is the guitar tech of Hank Williams III and a former opener for Hank III, with bulldog-like jowls and the baby face of a schoolyard prize fighter. The Outlaw Carnies is a backing band with a shifting lineup that at times has included national names like Joe Buck, Andy Gibson, & Trey Dalton.

Together they put on an energetic and entertaining true old school country show. Bob is a consummate front man and performer, driving the band and igniting the crowd. The Carnie lineup I saw included Telecaster, slap bass, & fiddle, and you never missed the drums. The arrangements were tight, the band worked well together, and the Telecaster and fiddle handled their breaks with good licks.

But what most impressed me about Bob Wayne was his songwriting. No wonder the Hank Williams III CD Damn Right, Rebel Proud has a version Bob’s ‘Working Man,’ where he sings along with the grandson of country music royalty.

When you talk about a man whose songs revolve around the road, truck driving, cocaine, meth, and heroine, the term ‘wordsmith’ may not be what initially comes to mind, but that is exactly what Bob Wayne is. The lyrics of his songs are authentic with a heart shattering amount of soul that can only be inspired by true life. His ‘f’ bombs and coke references are not just for shock or explicit entertainment value, they are the essential elements of the story behind the song that give it it’s life, or death.

My favorite part of the performance was when Bob played a song about his father committing suicide, and then years later, finding himself contemplating the same fate with the same demons his father had faced. He wasn’t singing a song, he was telling a story, and the music behind him was just a bed or a background. Many musicians have tried to do this. Robert Earl Keen has made a living doing this. But many have failed because truth and soul are not behind the story. Many musicians can bang on a guitar and jump around stage, and write songs that allow them to do that. Bob Wayne’s ability to tell a story and keep the audience puts him in very rare company. That is a feat that one should not undervalue.

When they stopped playing, I wanted more, which is how any good band leaves you. If you get a chance to see them live, don’t let it pass you by. And you can buy albums, merch, and listen to Bob Wayne & the Outlaw Carnies at
Bob Wayne has definitely earned his place as one of the premier performers in the modern Outlaw/Underground Country movement.

And just a note:

I was hoping to do an interview with Bob Wayne but I was just too damn busy when he rolled through town, so I’m hoping next time. Also, I did take some pics, but at some point in the night I accidentally switched the super camera into suck mode, and not a one of the pictures was worth trying to salvage.

Do me a favor if you like what you’re reading here and leave a comment or some kudos, and definitely ramble on over and check out Bob Wayne if you haven’t already.

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