There’s nothing worse than listening to packaged music. Package music is music created through a business plan like mindset and done to appeal to the masses in an attempt to generate large profits. Often times, it’s not even written by the musician. It’s lifeless, over-produced, noise with no character, no personality. This style lacks a voice and is a slap in the face to everything music stands for.
Lately, packaged music has come to dominate the music scene, growing exponentially during my lifetime. I’ve tried to listening to it. Honestly, I’ve tried playing the songs only to become disgusted with the artificial sounds, tacky lyrics and lack of rockability.
If you’re like me, where you crave music that stands strong with identity, then you need to plan on attending an Outlaws concert.
The Outlaws are men who are keeping true music alive not because they dream of striking it rich, but they have an everlasting love for what music is. They know people need it in their lives. It inspires, comforts, and speaks to us as no other medium can.
That’s why the Outlaws play.
When they take that stage, they bring to life a culture, a nation of southern rockers. The audience is a sea of men and women wearing Outlaws clothing, some branded thirty plus years ago. Confederate flags are rallied in a whirlwind as fans take to their feet during songs such as “Green Grass and High Tides” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”
The Outlaws are part of a subculture of music. Together, with Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Molly Hatch, The Allman Brother and others, they forged what has become known as Southern Rock.
During their show, they are not only performing their songs but, in doing so, they are paying respect to their brothers in the genre who, together, pioneered Southern Rock.
The title song off their new album, It’s About Pride, showcases this respect. Henry Paul, co-founder and lead singer, introduced the song by describing the music scene of the early 1970’s.
He talked about playing in bars where, at the time, drafts were twenty-five cents. He spoke of his friends, such as Ronnie Van Zant, and what it was like to be a band during that time, working side-by-side some of the greatest American musicians.
Bands often fall into preexisting subcategories of music but the Outlaws were part of the force that carved their own identity. They weren’t labeled. They created a name for themselves, a name that has remained alive for over 35 years.
These men are living legacy. And to attend one of their concerts is to witness this legacy.
I’ve never heard guitars played like how the Outlaws play. The intensity is coming at you one thousand miles an hour with a “hair on fire” attitude.
These men have a stage presence. They’re having fun while, at the same time, bringing the audience the best they have to offer. The entire concert builds upon itself. Just when you think they can’t top a solo, they come out blazing in the next song, constantly raising the bar as the night progresses.
It all comes together for the encore of “Ghost Riders in the sky.” It serves at the pinnacle of the night where the energy pouring out causes both the band and the fans to explode with excitement.
There’s nothing more electrifying than seeing the Outlaws gather at the center of the stage and push the limits of music to unthinkable heights. It’s a wall of sound that you have to hear to believe. It leaves you wishing the concert had just begun.
Their music has passion. It’s not only musical notes, choruses and bass lines but it’s who these six men are and what they stand for. To see entertainers love what they do is something refreshing and inspiring to watch.
You leave an Outlaws concert wanting to apply their aspect of how they approach music to how you do your job and live your life.
One of the most memorable of Paul’s anecdotes was when he talked about the old days when he was a teenager. He mentioned going into town on a Friday night with a group of friends and “seeing what kind of trouble [they] could get into.” He described it as times where people got the most out of life by being true.
They didn’t need all the elements of today. It was pure and simple but better. Life was seen as a celebration. People made their own enjoyment and didn’t have to rely on gadgets to entertain them. Live was active. It wasn’t passive like how it now seems to be.
Being at an Outlaws concert will be reminiscent for those who remember the time Paul spoke of and it will spark a desire among those younger to bring back those ways of yesterday.
As clique as it is, life is choices. You can sit around in front of a computer screen with packaged music, playing from some online source, or you can go into town with your friends and live that life Paul described.
If the Outlaws happen to be in town, make the time to attend their concert and be a part of the musical celebration. It will recharge you and lift your spirits like no other.