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About the Author

Michael Streissguth is the author of eight books, including Johnny Cash: The Biography. A professor in the Department of Communication and Film Studies at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, he has written for Mojo, the Journal of Country Music, Bluegrass Unlimited, and many other publications. He has written and produced two documentary films, Record Paradise and Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. He lives in Syracuse with his wife and family.


In February 1976, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Willie Nelson, and Tompall Glaser and the Glaser Brothers released Wanted: The Outlaws!, building upon their respective growing statures in the world of country music. Wanted! became the first country album to sell a million copies. In this compulsively readable book, music historian Streissguth describes the contrast between the staid Nashville music scene of the late '60s and early '70s, and the dynamic new music filtering into the city from Los Angeles (Emmylou Harris), Texas (Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jennings), and South Carolina (Marshall Chapman). One by one, he introduces readers to the change-makers. Kris Kristofferson was a Texas boy who arrived fresh out of the service looking to score big as a songwriter, working many odd jobs until Johnny Cash took him under his wing and provided Kristofferson with the stability he needed to write. Jennings was devastated by Buddy Holly's death (Jennings was a member of Holly's band) and made his way to Nashville to work with RCA and Chet Atkins as his career developed. Nelson came to Nashville from Texas in 1960, but then turned around and went back, eventually meeting up with Jennings and others to infuse fresh spirit into country music. Streissguth uses this one group of musicians not only to capture the essence of Nashville in the 1970s, but to portray the social and cultural forces-the Vietnam War protests, the clash of Old South and New South, the Civil Rights movement-that led to tremendous changes in the country music industry at the time. Agent: James Fitzgerald, James Fitzgerald Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a group of musicians including Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Tompall Glaser appeared in Nashville, ushering in a fresh musical sensibility that combined rock and folk with the rollicking rhythms of the Texas music of Doug Sahm. In 1976, Jennings, Nelson, Colter, and Glaser released the now-iconic Wanted: The Outlaws!, which became the first country album to sell a million copies. Streissguth's (Johnny Cash: The Biography) captivating tale of these artists, the ways in which they challenged the Nashville establishment of the time, and their sudden rise to fame provides a glimpse into a time when the country music industry, as well as Nashville itself, was struggling to find its identity. The remarkable moral of the story is that for a brief, and considerably memorable, moment, outsiders succeeded in finding a (sometimes uneasy) home in the Nashville scene in ways that artists have trouble doing today. VERDICT Although die-hard country music fans know the details of the stories that Streissguth tells, his book nevertheless opens a window on a Nashville that struggled to adapt to the times and the musicians who led it into a new era.-Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Evanston, IL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Riveting -- Wall Street Journal "A biting, in-depth chronicle of Nashville's most tumultuous era told through the voices of iconic artists who used their music to accomplish significant changes in the music industry." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Offers a look at the how the 'outlaw' music of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson shook up Nashville in the late '60s and '70s... Author Streissguth has country music bona fides: He also wrote Johnny Cash: The Biography. -- USA Today A riveting look at how how three Texans joined forces to liberate Nashville from its company-town ways in the 1970s. It is a small group portrait, tightly focused and well told by Michael Streissguth. -- Wall Street Journal Outlaw is an entertaining, authoritative account of Nashville's rebel years. -- "Compulsively readable..." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) Streissguth goes widescreen with this look at the social and musical ferment that produced the Seventies outlaw-country movement... [he] skillfully portrays Sixties Nashville's studio politics and their gradual loosening up, alongside a city where post-Sixties social change took its time arriving. -- Rolling Stone

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