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Elmont Rides with the Outlaws
As the 1970s dawned, the corridors of power in Nashville were shaken by a new kind of music called “outlaw country,” and a new kind of singer who sang it. Names like Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson roared to the tops of the charts with a back-to-basics country than shunned the “countrypolitan” style known as the Nashville Sound in favor of a return to the country of Jimmie Rodgers, Roy Acuff and Hank Williams. Now Tennessee Walt is offering Tennessee Walt’s Riding with the Outlaws, an all-new show that looks at the Outlaw Country movement with a fresh eye, appearing at the Elmont Memorial Library on Friday, April 26.
Tennessee Walt is an Elmont favorite, having presented all three of his previous shows—The Other Great American Songbook (2016), Bristol & Beyond: The Birth of Country Music (2017) and Hanks a Lot! (2018)—in the library’s magnificent auditorium.
“People don’t think of this part of the Island as a country area,” the singer said, “but I’ve played shows in Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas, not to mention all over Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester, and I’ve rarely found an audience more knowledgeable, curious and interested in learning new things. I come a ways for these shows—I live in norther Queens—but I’m happy to do it. Elmont is a show I look forward to each year, maybe my favorite each season.”
Tennessee Walt’s Riding with the Outlaws is a one-man concert featuring plenty of songs by Jennings, Kristofferson and Nelson, of course, but also both classics and underappreciated rarities from lesser-known outlaws such as David Allan Coe, Tompall Glaser and Billy Joe Shaver, plus borderline-outlaw greats like Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, all arranged by Tennessee Walt for voice and piano. It comes with plenty of fascinating information about the outlaws, their songs and their world, along with still-familiar classics such as “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Me and Bobbie McGee” and “On the Road Again.”