The Outlaws were amazing, however they were again rewarded with a 30 minute opening set which is total B.S. Skynyrd had at least four filler songs in their 1 hour 45 minute set that they could have skipped, thereby giving The Outlaws a respectful (given their heritage) 45 minute opening set. I don’t blame Skynyrd but I do blame their management. At the end of the day it’s all about customer experience. Ok so I mentioned The Outlaws were great. They were. Henry Paul sounded great, the band was tight and full of energy. Did I miss Billy Crain on guitar? Yes. His onstage presence cannot be discounted; he added another level to the live show. Don’t get me wrong: Steve Grisham is a fantastic player as is everyone in the band. The Outlaws again blew people away with their 4th and final song, Green Grass And High Tides.
If you don’t know the history of Lynyrd Skynyrd, look it up: it’s a sad but endearing story (Gary Rossington is the only original member) and the fact that there even IS a Lynyrd Skynyrd 40th anniversary is a testament to a historically pertinent time in the evoulution of rock and roll. Lynyrd Skynyrd live was just what you would expect: huge band, huge sound, iconic songs, full power. Gimmie Three Steps, Saturday Night Special, Call Me The Breeze, That Smell….getting the picture? My favorite song of the night was Tuesday’s Gone, man that’s a beutiful song. Then of course Sweet Home Alabama which is a great song but to be honest when the confederate flag comes out I always get a bit nervous (even though I’ve been told by many people it’s a symbol of southern heritage and pride, it’s also a symbol used by white supremacy groups… bummer). And of course, let’s not forget Free Bird. Awesome. Funny thing is I hear more people shout out Free Bird at other concerts than I did at the Lynyrd Skynyrd show… weird, huh? On a serious note, during Free Bird the names of southern rockers who have departed floated across the screen along with bald eagle images. Very touching and a good reminder that carrying on the torch of something meaningful is important.
I’m as free as a bird now… How ’bout you?
4 (out of 5)
The Outlaws’ live performance in 2012 was top 5 of all time for me.
I needed to find out more so I asked to interview the legendary Henry Paul and to my surprise he agreed.
Here is how it went down:
RRR – I want to talk about the record first. I knew from the opening that this was
a special record but my big question really has to be after so much time has
passed why did you do it? Why did you make the record?
– First of all I wanted to put a musical personality to the face of The
Outlaws. The Outlaws have been around for forty years, three of the original
members are gone. This record was an attempt to establish a musical identity
for the current band while maintaining the spirit of the original line up.
– The writing on this record is very intelligent. Did you know during the
making that this would be such a big record thematically speaking?
– If you’re going to write a tribute record to a fallen friend who was
paramount in the band’s musical personality I think a song like The
Flame reads almost like The Midnight Rider Paul Revere in that it’s a timeless rendering of a
mythical character. From there if you move to Nothing Main About Main Street you have a sociological study about
the changing structure of our society. And if you look at the title track It’s
about Pride here you have a look inside the mindset of a
historically pertinent musical phenomena. If you can rise to the occasion of
those themes then the songs seem to be as big as the subjects. This record
really works to my strength as a song writer, I’m kind of a Grapes Of Wrath guy, ya know, American
story telling. I am very proud of it and the feedback from the fans has been
– I noticed sonically that even though it was recorded digitally it really
didn’t feel that way. Was that intentional?
– You have to remember that is was recorded in Nashville which despite its
shortcomings artistically still has a very organic musical personality. I took
tricks that I have learned over the years and applied them to this record. Some
people make records like they make model airplanes; this was more like a barn
Huh? Could you elaborate; I’ve never been to a barn raising.
– (Laughing) When you’re making a model airplane you’re sitting at home
focusing on your individual tasks. With a barn raising we have everybody in the
same area throwing nails and lumber around and the next thing you know you have
four walls and a roof. I wanted to create a live sounding record. You’ll notice
every song has an ending. We as a band got in a room and rehearsed those songs
and demo’d those songs before we recorded them. The peaks and valleys are very
real as is the emotion. I fought hard to keep the character of the record by
not trying to make everything sound perfect. This casts the performers in a
more human and endearing way I think. Then we went back and fixed things and
put it all together.
– This record will stand the test of time although I think because of the way
music is sold now it will take longer for it to reach the audience that it
deserves. Do you have any future plans?
– Yes, after the record was released I entered into a contract with a man whose
label Loud And Proud is for established classic artists with a following. The
artists will get to keep their music and he will handle the marketing. The
equity in that is healthy. He wants to re-release this record to get it to a
broader audience and get an international awareness. Maybe we will add a few
songs to that version.
– Well my unsolicited opinion would be to release it the way it is because it’s
a perfect record then maybe some live tracks.
– I think your affection for the record is coming from the right place and I
will keep that in the back of my mind.
– Transitioning to your live act; in my opinion The Outlaws are one of the best
bands of any genre touring today. I saw you play a thirty minute set last year
opening for 38 Special and Charlie Daniels Band. Taking nothing away from the
latters’ accomplishments, you blew them off the stage that night. As much as I
love your new record the live act takes it to another level.
– I’m going to leave that alone and just take the compliment, so thanks.
– Always the gentleman.
– We don’t set traps for ourselves that could turn the night into an oldies
show. It’s very real, we have heart and still feel we have a lot to prove. We
are one of the best bands of any genre and every night that we go out there we
lean in and play hard. We don’t get political or run our yaps up there; we just
give our commitment, we go right after you. It’s almost like we’re daring you
not to like us, that’s how we establish rapport with an audience. We play as
hard as we can.
– It’s amazing with how many members you have and that with such a big
energetic sound you somehow make room for each other. Younger bands could learn
a lot form you.
– Have you heard of My Morning Jacket? When I see that band I drool over their
musicality. That band inspires me.
– When Outlaws take the stage it feels like hey, I’m gonna kick you in the face
now because that’s my job. So get ready!
– (laughing) That’s exactly right. that’s how we got where we are and have
been. It’s always been kill or be killed. Of course we wan’t to steal the show.
This year we’re going out with Lynnard Skynnard which is iconic in its
– I understand you lost a member of the band?
– Yes. Billy Crain has left the band due to medical and personal reasons. I
miss Billy more than I would like to admit. Billy is one of my primary
songwriting partners and his musicality really helped shape the last record.
When it comes to the creative catalyst of a group like this it feels like when
you break up with a significant other. It’s been very concerning for me. But
the guy I brought in, Steve Grisham, is a great songwriter and guitarist in his
own right if not as flamboyant a showman as Billy. Personnel changes are the
absolute last thing that you want. We just went out and the review of the show
was outstanding. People are telling me the new line up is even better.
– Well we wish Billy the best and are super excited to see you in Pomona California
– If you ever saw Marshal Tucker Band or Allman Brothers in their prime it was
stuff for the ages. The Outlaws are in their prime now. This band.
– Well I will go ahead and lower my gloves and tell you to take your best shot because
I was there last year when you played Pomona and I will be there this time. I
don’t see how you can possibly improve over last year’s performance.
– (Laughing) Well I will be operating on a fear of failure and we will go right
at you so don’t worry.
– You’re awesome, thank you so much for your time. We wish you nothing but the
success that you have earned and deserve. I’m proud to be a fan of your music
and of The Outlaws! And I look forward to the re-release of It’s
– It emboldens me to hear that and I want to see that the record gets the
re-release that it deserves. I know that there are a hundred thousand people
that would love to have this record if they knew it existed.
– We agree. It’s about Pride.
for tour dates etc.