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How Waylon Jennings Started the Outlaw Movement


Before Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson started the outlaw country movement, much of the Nashville music scene was controlled by record labels, producers and publishers. Frustrated by the lack of creative control, Willie Nelson moved to Austin, where he encoutered a new, youth rock-based audience mixed with a traditional country audience.

In this excerpt clip from The Highwaymen: Friends Til The End, Waylon Jennings talks about how he started the outlaw movement, which was epitomized by his 1974 album, “This Time” — produced by Waylon and Nelson.

Jennings said in his autobiography: “For us, ‘outlaw’ meant standing up for your rights, your own way of doing things. It felt like a different music, and outlaw was as good a description as any.”


Turner: The Outlaw movement was started by Waylon and Willie.

More so Waylon because he was the first one to say, 'Hey, I'm not gonna do things the normal way.'

He said, 'I'm gonna do them my way.'

Jennings: So one time Willie was in town, and I said, 'Willie, come on. Let's go cut an album.'

I said, 'I want to cut this album, but,' I said, 'I've got it ready.'

You know, he had a couple songs, and I said, 'I want you to play guitar on it, and let's have some fun with it.'

And I went over, and I cut the album 'This Time.'

When I got through with it, I took it to the record company, and they said, 'Oh, that's wonderful.

Now we got to go in the studio and cut it.'

And I said, 'No.'

I said, 'That's all you got.'

So they tried every way in the world, even tried to get them to allow this one to be released, and finally, they released it.

And that more or less broke the system in this town where the record companies own the studios.

Turner: I think anybody that has any artistic freedom in their contracts and record deals today owe that to Waylon Jennings.


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