Outlaw Country Songwriter Steve Young Has Passed Away
One of the most important songwriters and performers of the Outlaw country movement has passed away.
Steve Young was known for such songs as “Seven Bridges Road” that became a big hit for The Eagles, “Lonesome On’ry and Mean” by Waylon Jennings, “Montgomery in the Rain” by Hank Williams Jr., and was one of the most well-recognized and respected songwriters of the Outlaw movement. Speaking to the respect for Steve held among his peers, his debut album Rock Salt & Nails featured appearances by Gram Parson, Chris Hillman and Gene Clark. “Seven Bridges Road” was also covered heavily in the folk scene by artists like Joan Baez. And his songs continue to be recorded and performed by country, folk, and rock artists.
Born July 12th, 1942, in Newnan, Georgia, and growing up in various parts of the South, his family moved often looking for work. Young would spend parts of his formative years in Georgia, Texas, and Alabama, soaking up not just the country music, but blues and folk of each region which would later lead to his unique approach to songwriting he simply called “Southern music” that bridged various roots genres and rock.
Before he would make his name in the country music Outlaw movement, Young would do time in Greenwich Village in the early 60’s as part of the world-famous folk scene. He would spend time in California in 1964, making friends with folks like Stephen Stills and Van Dyke Parks, joining the psychedelic country rock band Stone Country for a stint. The styling of folk and rock would go into what made Steve Young such a pioneer in Outlaw country later on.
Though Young was considered mostly a background member of the Outlaw movement for many years, his appearance on the legendary Outlaw documentary Heartworn Highways helped awaken the world to his talent. Though he still remained mostly known through the songs he wrote that others performed, Young had a strong solo career and released a total of 14 albums.
Van Dyke Parks’ song “All The Golden” is about Steve Young.
His son and fellow songwriter and performer Jubal Lee Young shared the news Thursday evening (3-17) of his fathers passing.
“My father, Steve Young, passed peacefully tonight in Nashville. While it is a sad occasion, he was also the last person who could be content to be trapped in a broken mind and body. He was far too independent and adventurous. I celebrate his freedom, as well, and I am grateful for the time we had. A true original.”
Steve Young was 73-years-old.
March 18, 2016 @ 8:49 am
Sad to see him go, he was one of the greats. He will be missed.
March 18, 2016 @ 9:00 am
Nooooo! Today of all days when they’re streaming Heartworn Highways online for free! http://pitchfork.com/news/64203-outlaw-country-documentary-heartworn-highways-to-stream-on-pitchfork/
RIP Steve Young.
March 18, 2016 @ 10:31 am
RIP a great songwriter.
March 18, 2016 @ 10:34 am
Newnan, Georgia, I got an aunt and uncle that live up there actually.
If nothing else, here’s hoping both he, Glenn Frey and Waylon are sharing a drink right now.
March 18, 2016 @ 4:07 pm
If Newnan, GA is “up there,” then you are about as far down South as you can get. Florida doesn’t count because it is a New York colony.
March 18, 2016 @ 6:59 pm
Gulfport, MS to be exact. Was trying to live in Marietta last summer but the job I had couldn’t pay me enough to stay there.
Matter of fact I just recently got approved for disability but I’m gonna wait until I go back to finishing school to maybe go to not Georgia but maybe outside New York City.
March 18, 2016 @ 5:44 pm
I grew up in Newnan – went to high school with Alan Jackson ~ along with about 1,200 others back in the day.
Doug Stone’s from there, too.
Didn’t know SY was from there, though.
Must be something in the water (here’s hoping).
March 23, 2016 @ 11:46 pm
Blaze Foley was from the area as well.
Bigfoot is Real (lonesome, on'ry, and mean)
March 18, 2016 @ 11:00 am
A greatly under-appreciated artist. An album of Steve Young’s to get your mitts on is “Switchblades of Love” if you can. And the album “Seven Bridges Road” is pretty amazing in it’s own right too.
March 18, 2016 @ 11:14 am
Rest in Peace, Steve.
March 18, 2016 @ 12:27 pm
Such a shame. Absolutelty an original. Lonesome, Onry, and Mean always has been one of my favorite Waylon tracks and albums. I always love hearing White Trash Song on the radio as well. Very weird coincidence, ive been listening to Shooter Jennings new album and Steve is featured on it. The track is Born to Die, check it out if youve never heard it, may very well be the last collaboration he did. Very sorry to hear this.
March 18, 2016 @ 12:50 pm
Willie Nelson wrote the song, “I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone”, not Steve.
March 18, 2016 @ 2:14 pm
RIP Steve. 🙁
March 18, 2016 @ 6:54 pm
Really a true American original Mr. Young was.
It should be said that the Eagles had “Seven Bridges Road” in their sets from the start, as their second lead guitarist Bernie Leadon had guested on the album of Young’s that included the original; and they included it on their 1980 live collection, where, released as a single, it got up to #21 on the Hot 100 in early 1981, their last hit…before Hell froze over, of course.
March 18, 2016 @ 8:43 pm
Terrible news. Steve was a wonderful songwriter and figure in Outlaw Country – and “Southern Music” in general, as you pointed out, Trig.
“Rock Salt and Nails” is the first Young tune I heard off his debut, and I also highly recommend Joe Ely’s amazing version on his Live at Liberty Lunch album.
A true poet and original. R.I.P.
Jubal Lee Young
March 18, 2016 @ 9:56 pm
March 19, 2016 @ 2:53 am
RIP Steve knowing that the good old days of country are on their way back.
March 19, 2016 @ 4:40 am
Well, there’s one item on the bucket list that ain’t gonna happen. Always wanted to see him live. Alabama Highway on Heartworn High ways blew me away from the first note. RIP Steve.. So sorry for your loss Jubal. 🙁
March 21, 2016 @ 11:26 am
He will be missed. Rest in Peace.
March 26, 2016 @ 5:30 pm
I’m ashamed to say I really was not familiar with Steve Young until I listened to Shooter Jennings show on Sirus satellite radio. Man, I’m totally blown away by this mans talent. Now I’ve always loved “Lonesome ,Onry and Mean” and “Seven Bridges Road” but didnt know about the writer. My loss, my loss indeed.
April 1, 2016 @ 8:52 am
I first heard Steve Young in the early 70s, and “Seven Bridges Road” blew me away. The passion in that voice. Every time since then I am still blown away by that voice. Steve Young’s work has a fourth dimension, a spiritual plane. I had the good fortune to have seen him four times, twice in house concerts,
one in my own home, with me opening for him. He was very open and generous. He was kind enough to have listened to a song I pitched to him. I couldn’t believe it: Steve Young driving around Nashville listening to my song! His work moved me the way Van Gough’s Starry Night moved me. My deepest sympathies to all his friends and family members. I am so grateful to have known him. He was always a triple threat: SINGER, SONGWRITER, GUITARIST. I hope he had some idea of what a great artist he was.