The Outlaws Have Plenty Of Reason To Be “Proud” Of Their New LP

Courtesy: Rocket Science Ventures

The Outlaws is coming!  Get it?  It’s a movie reference for those who might not have known.  The movie in question is The Three Stooges’ 1965 movie by the same name.  Of course that movie was anything but good, thanks to one Curly Joe DeRita.  It isn’t the focus of today’s review.  The Outlaws in question getting the focus today is the Tampa Bay, Florida based Southern Rock band.  The Outlaws has been making music for four decades.  This band has been there through thick and thin during the entire course of its career.  And next month, The Outlaws will release its eleventh full length studio album, titled, “It’s About Pride.”

“It’s About Pride” is a fitting title for the band’s new album as it’s an album of which the band’s fans new and old will be proud.  The album opens strongly with the song, ‘Tomorrow’s Another Night.’  It’s a straight forward country rock style song with a hopeful chorus that in its own way outlines everything that this band has been through in its career.  The band sings in the chorus, “Tomorrow’s another night/Maybe the light will shine on me/I’ll take what I’m given/And I’ll hold on tight/Win or lose/it’s gonna be alright/But tomorrow’s another night.”  The song drives, musically speaking, through its entire four and a half minute run time, keeping listeners’ ears the whole time.  The multi-guitar “attack” and guitar solos add their own flare to the song, too.

The band follows up ‘Tomorrow’s Another Night’ with an equally driving song in ‘Hidin’ Out in Tennessee.’  It’s basically another song about life on the road for a band.  This type of song is nothing new to the music business.  It crosses the border from rock to country.  But rather than taking the Bon Jovi or Kid Rock route, The Outlaws take a more positive outlook here, singing, “Nobody knows where an outlaw goes/and they d*** sure don’t wanna be found/If you’re lookin’ for me/I’ll be hiding out in Tennessee.”  The song breaks down into a mini jam session from the last chorus that will get any pure blood country fan on his or her feet.  It’s a great way to finish off this song and segue into the next.

That next song is the album’s title track.  And it’s bound to be one of the album’s biggest hits.  For that matter it could very well become one of the band’s biggest hits in its entire four decade long career.  Front man Henry Paul sings of the band’s roots, and its pride in those roots.  As noted in the band’s bio, this song tells the story of how the band has endured so much and has still come back for more.  As with ‘Hidin’ Out In Tennessee’, the multi-guitar attack adds its own touch.  The music in general really catches the vibe of the song’s lyrics, too.  It helps to convey the band’s early history and everything that it has faced to get where it is today.   

The album’s opening trio of tracks is a great way to start off what is a great return for a band that’s been away for quite some time.  They are only part of the overall success of the album, though.  Fans will also enjoy the George Thorogood style ‘Born To Be Bad’ and the Neil Young/Lynyrd Skynyrd styled ‘Trouble Rides A Fast Horse.’  Fans of fellow southern rock acts such as the Eagles and Tom Petty will like ‘Trail of Tears’ and ‘Right Where I Belong.’  ‘Trail of Tears’ is a touching story of what happened to the Native American community as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830.  Whether these songs or any others, fans will all have more than their share of favorite songs.  They all combine to make for an album that any fan of southern rock and/or country will enjoy.

“It’s About Pride” hits stores Tuesday, September 25th via Rocket Science Ventures.  While fans wait for the album’s release, they can see them live on tour.  The band will be in Vernal, Utah next Friday, August 17th for the annual Country Explosion.  To see more tour dates and keep up with all the latest from The Outlaws, fans can check them out online at http://www.outlawsmusic.com, http://www.facebook.com/outlawsmusic, http://twitter.com/outlawsmusic, and on the band’s official YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/outlawsmusic.

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New Skynyrd memoir brings back great music memories

 

The world of rock and roll is rife with stories that are the stuff of legend.  Choose any band from any era, and one will find any number of stories.  Now another band has some of its stories told thanks to its former tour manager in a new book titled, Turn it Up!  The band in question is one Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Turn it Up! was written by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s former tour manager, Ron Eckerman.  In his new memoir, Eckerman tells the story of his time with one of rock’s most famous, and infamous bands.  His book follows the course of his time with the band from his first meeting right to the dark day when the world lost Lynyrd Skynyrd in that horrible plane crash.  One of the book’s funniest memories comes early on in Eckerman’s time with the band.  He writes of how the band teasingly called him Roneckerman just to get under his skin.  He notes how the band would use both his first and last name with no pause in-between.  It was because of the band’s frontman, Ronnie Van Zant.  They were making a joke of another Ron being linked to the band.  Yes, it was entirely juvenile.  But that’s what makes this story so funny.  It shows that the band was just a bunch of grown up kids.

Eckerman also tells readers of the band’s drug and alcohol use throughout its tours, and what is perhaps one of its most outrageous moments when drummer Artimus Pyle actually climbs across the roof of the car he’s riding in, from one side of the car to the other and then gets back in.  If ever there was a memorable moment that is definitely one.  Of course, it’s only a tiny sampling of the unbelievable stories that Eckerman shares with his readers. 

For all the wild and crazy stories that surround Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eckerman does offer readers a softer side to one member of the band, too.  In one instance, he writes of a fishing trip he took with Ronnie Van Zant during some of the band’s downtime.  He notes how Van Zant told him that the serenity of fishing was really what he loved.  It showed that for all the wild and crazy antics of the band, at least one member of the band was in reality, as ordinary and calm as anyone.  It’s kind of like the legends surrounding the likes of Ozzy versus the behind the scenes reality of how he really is.

What is perhaps one of the most interesting moments in the book is another moment between Eckerman and Van Zant.  At one point, Van Zant is alone with Eckerman, and tells him that he’s going to be a father.  Van Zant’s next statement is prophetic in a way.  Eckerman writes that while they’re celebrating the good news, Ronnie told him, “This is gonna change a few things, and we really gotta clean up this band.  Sooner or later somebody’s gonna die.”  The irony of Van Zant’s statement is that it wasn’t drugs and alcohol or the general rock and roll lifestyle that ended Lynryd Skynyrd.  It was the now infamous plane crash that took the life of Van Zant and five others.

The plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens was a dark moment in one era of music history.  The plane crash that ended the original Lynyrd Skynrd was another generation’s dark moment.  Eckerman notes in his book of how he fights with himself to this day on what happened.  On the one hand, he blames himself and friend Peter Rudge for wanting the band to travel by plane.  But then he continues on the other hand, “But I do believe, like Ronnie, that we are in the hands of destiny, and when your number’s up your number is indeed up, so it might have happened regardless of the circumstances.”  What really makes this moment hit home is when Eckerman notes of his friendship with Van Zant, “I lost my closest brother on that flight, closer than my brothers by blood, and an entire family whom I loved dearly.”  That sentiment, combined with his obvious mixed emotions makes for what is arguably the most touching statement in the book.  Here is a man who started out admittedly knowing next to nothing of Lynyrd Skynyrd and hardly being overly fond of its members, but then came to be that close to the band in the end.  It’s the sort of story that is perfect for a big screen adaptation.  It’s enough to make enough the strongest reader tear up.

Whether it be for this story, the stories of wild parties and everything else that went on during his time with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ron Eckerman’s new memoir is a wonderful look behind the scenes of arguably one of the greatest rock bands of all time.  It showed the band’s wild side, and its gentler side.  It’s a piece of rock history that readers and fans alike will enjoy from the first page to the last.