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Outlaw: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and the Renegades of Nashville

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  505 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Waylon Jennings. Willie Nelson. Kris Kristofferson. Three renegade musicians. Three unexpected stars. Three men who changed Nashville and country music forever.

By the late 1960s, Nashville, Tennessee, was firmly established as the center of the booming country music industry and home to what was known as the Nashville Sound, characterized by slick production and adherence
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by It Books (first published June 1st 2013)
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Start your review of Outlaw: Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and the Renegades of Nashville
``Laurie Henderson
This book brought back a lot of memories for me of the late 70's when Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson became the superstars of country music by breaking the power of the Nashville studio system.

Suddenly country was cool and everybody started wearing cowboy boots and hats whether they were from the city or the country with the wildly popular movie "Urban Cowboy" being the culmination of this movement.

Waylon and Willie both had signed with the Nashville studios back in the
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I've been called an outlaw, a renegade, and a son of a b****. But all we've been fighting for is artistic control. Freedom is what it all boils down to, having your own way." -- Waylon Jennings

Though Willie and Kris are up there in the title trio with Waylon they sort of get lost in the shuffle alongside numerous other personalities (lesser-known artists, producers, and various hangers-on) profiled in Streissguth's dry book on the 'outlaw movement' in country music. Said genre came to prominenc
Ron S
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Author, professor and documentary filmmaker Michael Streissguth looks at three musicians at the forefront of change in country music in the late 1960s and and early 70s. Besides all of the biographical background provided for Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, this highly readable book is also filled with insight into Nashville, other performers from Lee Emerson to Kinky Friedman, recording and management practices, the Austin scene; even the Dripping Springs Festival gets me ...more
Ted Lehmann
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it

Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville by Michael Streissguth (!t books, 304 pages, June 4, 2013, $26.99) describes in vivid detail a time of turmoil in Nashville and in the music business when country music, as represented by the corporate image or RCA's country music division with Chet Atkins as the chief of the Nashville office had reached a point of over production and artistic decadence which challenged its listenership and sales. Streissguth describes a time when Chet
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
I would have given this book five stars for the writing alone, but Streissguth tried to pull off something that's just not possible. He tried to write the history of the Outlaw movement from just the Nashville perspective and thereby giving Austin short shrift.

It's also clear that he didn't really understand the impact that Austin musicians, like Jerry Jeff Walker, had on Waylon and Willie. It was Jerry Jeff who first fought for the artistic freedom to record with whomever and wherever he chose
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
I picked up a copy of this book because I am a fan of country music. I grew up on it, so I wanted to read this book as these are three men that are staples in this industry. So I was excited to read this book. Well I do have to say that it is packed full of information, however, I found that sometimes too much information is not always a good thing. Especially if you do not break up the information some with more personality. This is what I was hoping and looking for in this book...personality. ...more
Garrett Cash
My journey into the so called "outlaw" music genre or label began with the first country record I ever bought with my own money. It was the "Wanted! The Outlaws" compilation that I still have and play, and like many Americans back in the 70's it was my first glimpse into the underground world of Nashville's defiant voices against the slick countrypolitan mainstream.

This led me to an interest in Willie Nelson specifically, and I read all the Willie books and saw him in concert in 2012. Waylon wa
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very likeable paean to Nashville and the careers of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. Lots of cameo appearances by greater and lesser-known icons, iconoclasts, and persona non grata of country music, along with lots of anecdotes, legends, and hearsay stories, some humorous, some touching, some blood-curdling. The one that I didn't know about was the death of singer-songwriter, producer, and genuine outlaw Lee Emerson at the hands of Barry Sadler, the latter of the 1966 hi ...more
Andy Greenman
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A few musicians landed in Music Row in the '60s and changed the Nashville Sound forever. After major success Kristofferson moved to Malibu to star in films, Willie moved back to Texas and Waylon continued to record and do massive amounts of coke. Don't y'all think this outlaw bit has done got outta hand?
Christopher Shawn
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Head on down with Willie and Waylon and the boys who started a revolution. Tired of the same old tunes in Nashville, a few brave outlaws took country music by storm, and changed the rules for everyone while doing so. Are you sure Hank done it this way?
Rich Primo
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an outstanding book! Stays on point and doesn't pander to the legends it covers. Opened my eyes to the artistry involved in the music and other key players I had never given any attention to. Highly recommend.
Mark Goddard
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great stories. Book was hard to put down. Highly Recommended!
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Listened to the audiobook. Enjoyable. I’d give it 3.5 stars.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read -interesting stories.

very well researched, but stiff account of outlaw country with what seems like an outsized interest in Kristofferson. Would recommend.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
WoW! I was not expecting to like this book at all. However, the information was very interesting --
and the connection to other Nashville historical events at the time was fascinating.
Michael Haslett
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun book. A quick read with great stories about some great musicians.
Bcoghill Coghill
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Is it my generation? Born in 1952.
Perhaps it was because I bought Kristofferson’s Border Lord and fell for the genre? Perhaps it was Waylon’s voice or Willie’s hipness.
Maybe it was Johnny Cash song about Ira Hayes, the tragic Indian.
Maybe it evolved from the Byrds.
Whatever, they were my music in the 70s and still a big thing to me today.
I’ve read all their biographies as well as other books and articles but this seems the truest of all.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Good background about the days before Country Music became "really" popular. Worthwhile portraits of Willie, Kris, and one of my favorites, the "great" Waylon Jennings
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it
It is worth reading it you are interested in this era of country music history but it was dry at times.
Rob Miech
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Ken Burns documentary on CW music led me to this gem, going deeper on the Outlaw theme with Waylon, Willie and Kris. Very entertaining and revealing. Most definitely worth the time and effort.
Ryan Fairfield
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the fastest reads I've ever done. Couldn't put the damn book down. Love outlaw country and loved reading stories of some of my favorite artists, including the notorious David Allan Coe.
Timothy Batson
Jul 07, 2020 rated it liked it
As Cliff's Notes as you can get with this history and still retain some juicy details. A nice slice of music history.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. I learned a lot about the business before I was born. Worth the reading time.
Nick Greenwood
Sep 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-books
An interesting look at three of the main stars and catalyst musicians for the country "outlaw" movement starting in the mid-60s through the 70s. With inspiration from Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson wrote some of the most interesting and almost non-country lyrics. He wasn't a great singer, but that was the point, neither was Willie. Kris was really the first one, but it's not really about who got there first, it's all about how the three of them rebelled against the countrypolitan sound of the t ...more
Dave Schwensen
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From Old School To New: The Outlaws and Nashville

For fans of the big three in the title, this book expertly details how they changed country music from safe to “outlaw” and the way Nashville does business. The old school record companies, artists and songwriters were set in their ways during the 1960′s but missing out on a youthful audience that was buying into the country rock of Bob Dylan, The Byrds and The Eagles. The attitudes and images of these newer performers were in extreme contrast to
Sharon Chance
Streissguth gives readers a glimpse into the atmosphere of the era through bits and pieces of information gathered from research and interviews with some of the people who were on the inside during this time. Stories from musicians, roadies, managers and other close personnel give their accounts of how the music was transpired and how it transformed everything formerly done in “Music City.” Streissguth also includes interviews with the members of the movement who still are in the music business ...more
Gary Anderson
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Michael Streissguth’s books examine the sweet spots where country music transcends popular trends and redefines itself. His previous books dealing with Johnny Cash’s concerts at Folsom Prison, the life of Jim Reeves, and Rosanne Cash’s The List album explored how these pioneers transformed an old art form, forever changing the way we think about country music. Streissguth’s new book Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville examines how a few iconic figures bucked the system b ...more
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
‘Way before the Highwayman road along the coach roads, before Jesus was a Capricorn and before Whiskey River - Nashville was a pretty boring place. All the producers were white, Baptist and walked the line. Things were on a straight, repetitive road. Until…..

In Outlaws Michael Streissguth takes us back to the early 1960s when a Rhodes scholar (Kris), a Texas DJ (Waylon) and a Methodist cotton picker (Willie) had a bit of an epiphany. Different places, different times but still the epiphany came.
David Ward
Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris and the Renegades of Nashville by Michael Streissguth (Harper Collins 2013) (781.642)is a rollicking tale from the country music industry about the rise of "Outlaw Music" in the 1970's when Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings united the cowboys, the hippies, and the rednecks together under the banner of country music. This book focuses more on the battle between Willie, Waylon, and Kris Kristofferson with the traditional Nashville country music establishment over artis ...more
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm a little surprised this book doesn't have better reviews here, although I admit that I might not have liked it as much if I hadn't recently moved to Nashville. I guess the title is a bit misleading—while Waylon, Willie, and Kris definitely loom larger than most other personalities here, the book is more about what the music industry was like in Nashville in the 60s/70s, and how the 'outlaw' movement challenged and changed things. In other words, it's probably not a great choice if you're loo ...more
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