Now this, THIS is the documentary we’ve all been waiting for.
We’ve seen a number of country music documentaries over the years, and we’ve seen them about outlaw country artists in the past as well.
But this one… this is something special.
Titled They Called Us Outlaws: Cosmic Cowboys, Honky Tonk Heroes And the Rise of Renegade Troubadours, the documentary will feature six-episodes, twelve hours of viewing, and is set to drop next year.
The documentary is executive produced by Jessi Colter, Ray Benson, and Jack Ingram, and is in association with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
More than a decade in the making, it will feature everyone from Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, Bobby Bare, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ray Benson, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker, Tom T. Hall, Charlie Daniels, and many, many more.
It was also feature some modern day stars of country music, such as Shooter Jennings, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Tyler Childers, Randy Rogers, Parker McCollum, Lee Ann Womack, Bruce Robison, Charley Crockett, John R. Miller, Brooks & Dunn, and more.
Even the great Matthew McConaughey can be heard in the trailer.
Jessi Colter, country singer and wife of Waylon Jennings, expressed her excitement for the new doc:
“If you want to know what really happened in the 70s in Nashville and Austin, take heed. They Called Us Outlaws is full of ‘underground’ untold stories, and equations you must conclude for yourself. Just hang on to see true American music happen. Roll it boys…”
Judging from the new teaser, it appears that every artist interviewed will explain what they believe being an “outlaw” means, and if they feel like they resonate with the word or not.
Shooter Jennings, the son of Waylon, can be heard in the teaser saying:
“I think about my dad’s music when I hear ‘outlaw,’ but I guess I’m dubious of the label.”
The documentary is written and directed by Eric Geadelman, and filmed by Kelly Magelky, and is slated to drop some time in 2023.
“It created some of the most iconic people of a number of generations … it created a kind of music … It will never happen again.”
Check it out:
Waylon Jennings Calls “Outlaw” Title “The Dumbest Thing I Ever Heard”
I can never get enough of Waylon Jennings.
Of course, these days, we all think of him as the ultimate country outlaw, who paved the way for an incredible era of music back in the 1970’s.
And his 1976 collaborative record with Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and wife Jessi Colter, Wanted! The Outlaws, was wildly successful, becoming first country album to ever go platinum.
Waylon has admitted more than once that he hated the whole concept of it, and even once said that the most “outlaw” thing Willie ever did was “that he came to town and double-parked on music row.”
And in an interview on the Down Home Down Under show in Australia back in the late ’80s, he admitted that he hated labels and just wanted to make the music he was passionate about:
“Well, you shoulda started with some of what they called me before that. I been called a little bit of everything. When I came here, I didn’t quite fit in any mold, just like I still don’t, you know?
They felt like that they had to put some kind of label on you. And I’ve really always not liked labels, you know? I think when you finally make it is when people start referring to your music as the ‘Waylon Jennings music’ or the ‘Willie Nelson music’, or the sound.
And that’s what I always strived for, not for a particular type of music.”
But of course, like pretty much any artist in the music industry will tell you, when PR people and label executives get involved, it becomes a lot more about marketing than music in a lot of ways (read: pretty much every way).
And it’s always been like that to a certain degree based on what Waylon said in this interview, but you know he’s gonna call it exactly like he sees it…
He thought that “outlaw” title was the dumbest thing he ever heard:
“And then when I thought I had it all made, they come along with this outlaw mickey mouse, you know?
And I though that was about the dumbest thing I ever heard.
Outlaw music? What is ‘outlaw music,’ you know?”
Except, he later admitted in the interview that, in the end, it really was a brilliant move from a purely business standpoint.
He also let everyone in on a little secret that, when they had picked out the songs for the aforementioned Wanted! The Outlaws record, a lot of them were 10-plus years old.
And Waylon had decided at the time that Willie needed to come redo some of his old tracks before the record got cleared to go to the label for publishing, and had him come in the studio and lay down new vocals.
That was pretty illegal for a lot of reasons having to do with publishing rights and all, especially because Willie was no longer with RCA Records, who still owned those rights and put the album out, and was signed with Columbia Records at the time:
“Now I’ll tell it, because it won’t hurt anything anyways, but I made Willie come in and re-sing some of that stuff, which was against the law.”
Sounds pretty damn outlaw to me…
What I would give to have one beer with Waylon and just shoot the shit about life. The man’s honesty about everything he ever thought will never, ever get old.
Do yourself a favor and check out that part of the interview here: