The Legacy of the Outlaw Country Concerts
Before I get into the meat of this post, I need to do some house cleaning:
For those of you that did not see the bulletin from the Hank 3 music page the other day, they announced that the much delayed Damn Right, Rebel Proud album will have additional tracks on it when it is released. No word on what those tracks might be (Three Shades of Black?) but I think this is a smart move. Stuff as many tracks as you can on each album, because you never know when Curb Records will let the next one come out.
Also the new Hank III Collector’s Tin will NOT count as a release on Shelton’s Curb contract. Without whipping your ass on the whole legal side of this thing, Shelton still owes Curb two more records on his contract before he can legally walk away. Damn Right will count as one, and I was hoping maybe this collector’s tin would count as another, but unfortunately, no dice people. So we might have to deal with this shit all over again with yet another album. That’s while I’ll keep this thing rolling until Hank III is completely released from his Curb obligations.
A lot of people are frustrated with the state of Hank III, the way the Opry is screwing Hank Sr. over, and the general state of country music, and they want to see something done about it. But what to do?
Now I not trying to act like I’m some expert on the music business, but those of you that have been reading these blogs for a while know that I completely geek out about the history of country music and the original country music ‘outlaws’ of the 70’s, and how they pulled off getting creative control of their music and national exposure for it.
Well if you had to give the outlaw country movement a starting point, it would be the Dripping Springs Reunion in 1972. It was held in a cow pasture 30 minutes south of Austin, attracted over 60,000 people, and was considered the country Woodstock. Willie Nelson put the whole thing together, and the performers included Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver, Tom T. Hall, and oldtimers Loretta Lynn and Tex Ritter. Dripping Springs was also the precursor to Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnics, which still go on to this day.
Willie’s picnic in 1974 was just as big as Dripping Springs, and they made a movie about it, just like they did with Woodstock. There are YouTubes of the 1974 performances and scene. Unfortunately you can embed them, but if you go to Geeky333’s YouTube page you can find a bunch of them there and they are all great. Leon Russel jamming with Willie and Doug Kershaw. It’s amazing.
David Allan Coe played this show, bringing the bikers together with the rednecks and hippies. This was the biggest impact of Dripping Springs and the 4th of July picnics, bringing all these different performers and their fans together.
So think of taking this same idea of having a ‘reunion’ with all these different underground or ‘outlaw’ country musicians getting together, combining forces for a common cause. Think of having a ‘Reinstate Hank’ rally with Hank III, Those Poor Bastards, Joe Buck, Shooter Jennings, .357 String Band, and with the oldtimers being Willie Nelson, George Jones and David Allan Coe. Think of how many people it would draw in, and how far it would go to spreading the word about the movement.
Another thing is you could have a whole tour of these acts, just like Lollapalooza did to spread grunge, Warped did to spread punk and West Coast bands. Willie and Waylon’s outlaw tour together was another reason outlaw country took off like it did. And just like in the early 70’s, it would not only involve the new acts coming up, but the old ones that have been pushed aside by the money machine oligarchy of Nashville.
Hank III has already proved he can bridge fan bases together. This was what Straight to Hell did, bridging the country and heavy metal fans, and showing people who never liked country music that country music could be cool.
A small version of this idea is happening this July in Montana with the Murder in the Mountains Tour .
These are just my thoughts and maybe I’m higher than a Georgia pine, but it seems that there’s safety and power in numbers, and the more musicians, fans, and networks join, the more influence they seem to have.
But hell, what do I know.
Lastly, if you haven’t seen this, Josh McElhannon recorded this fucking amazing response to Paul Sutherland’s misinformed video. Check it out:
‘If you don’t like Hank Williams, keep his fuckin’ name out your mouth”