Kaitlin Duffy

The Outlaws new album holds onto roots while experimenting with the new: a Henry Paul interview

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Photo Credit: John Gellman

Talking to Henry Paul from The Outlaws was a direct time traveling route through the decades, back to the beginning of all of this present-day musical madness. Starting with the early 50s’ rhythms of blues and jazz, all the way to Bob Dylan and the birth of rock with a little help from bands like the Beatles and the Stones. But it was a revolutionary time in the 70s where bands like The Byrds, Derek and the Dominos, Crosby Still Nash and Young, and The Outlaws came into the scene; they were experimenting with a new sound, a southern sound going against the grain that we know contemporarily as Southern Rock.

Then came the 80s, a time where Paul said, “tightened up and shrank,” “it became more candy.” The 90s were a bit “lost,” and now in 2012 we have what seems like an overflow of musical options, some in which Paul knows and loves (he digs Avett Bros. and Mumford and Sons!). And now after all these years, the original members that are left of The Outlaws are coming together in their locale in Nashville, Tennessee—where the musical resources are of great abundance—to record what will be their 12th studio album It’s About Pride.

It was a classic case of luck with The Outlaws at the start. Paul said all of them were circumstantially situated in Tampa, Florida, and decided to start jamming out. Paul notes that it really is about finding people you connect with and share the same visions as. Paul, who joined in ’71, was a crucial element in the band’s evolution as organic, harmony-driven music, and the new album is something all of them wanted to do as sort of a commemoration to the band’s history. The guys even got to tour with The Rolling Stones and The Who at one point; experiences Paul says were unforgettable for the most obvious of reasons.

We got into talking about music today, where we are in terms of variety and comparison to the early years of The Outlaws. In agreement the Internet had a lot to do with the current humble jumble of it all, Paul said the “corporate clampdown on radio has [also] kind of taken the fun out of [making music],” and, “the radio used to be an exciting place to be,” but now we’re sort of lost in the shuffle so to speak.”

Paul speaks for the band when he says the album is a, “retrospective view re-engaging The Outlaws’ fan base,” and the “instrumental effort given by them is significant,” and the guys are a, “really good live, exceptional group.” Currently the guitarist also works on his side project Black Hawk, who he usually tours with on the regular. But The Outlaws do still do play shows, which leads me to believe we could be be seeing an It’s About Pride tour sometime soon…

You can catch The Outlaws when they play the Fox Theatre in Pomona on September 28, 2012. Tickets available via Live Nation

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