By Amanda Cagan
For The Outlaws, it’s not only about the music they’ve made for decades, it’s also about the pride they’ve always put into creating their legacy. As purely evidenced on their much long-awaited sixth studio album, It’s About Pride is due out September 25 on Rocket Science Ventures. “Tomorrow’s Another Night,” the album’s first single, is being serviced to radio on August 20. The band known for their triple-guitar Rock attack and three-part Country harmonies finally returns to the music scene with their first new studio album since 1994’s Diablo Canyon (Blues Bureau International).
During the last 40 years, the Southern Rock legends–founding singer/songwriter/guitarist Henry Paul and drummer/songwriter Monte Yoho along with lead guitarist Billy Crain, co-lead guitarist Chris Anderson, keyboardist/vocalist Dave Robbins and bassist/vocalist Randy Threet—have celebrated triumphs, endured tragedies and survived legal nightmares to remain one of the most influential and best-loved bands of the genre. Now The Outlaws are back with new music, a new focus and an uncompromising new mission: it’s about a band of brothers bound together by history, harmony and the road. It’s about a group that respects its own legacy while refusing to be defined by its past. Most of all, it’s about pride.
It’s About Pride is an album four years in the making and perhaps 20 or more in the waiting. For original Outlaws singer/songwriter/guitarist Henry Paul, it’s a hard-fought revival whose success can be measured in old fans and new music. “Because The Outlaws have been out of the public eye for so long, it’s almost like starting over,” he explains. “But because of the band’s history, we’re seeing this as a new chapter. We’ve written and recorded this album on our own terms, and we’re out to make a significant impression. What our fans loved then they still love now, because we are just as good or even better than we were. Most of all, they recognize the heart of what it is we still do.”
For co-founding drummer/songwriter Monte Yoho, the journey is both bittersweet and jubilant. “I still think about the friends we made when we first came into this industry, how we struggled to define this thing that became known as ‘Southern Rock,’” he says. “This new album embodies all the things we shared musically and personally, as well as the relationships we have with our fans to this day. It’s about where we’ve been, where we’re going, and why we still love to do this.”
In addition to the touring The Outlawswill be doing over the next few months to promote It’s About Pride, they’ll also be a part of the “Simple Man Cruise” on Norwegian Pearl along with Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Doobie Brothers, and many others, which departs from Miami on October 27. Fans can check out www.simplemancruise.com for further info.
Formed in Tampa in 1972, The Outlaws became one of the first acts signed by Clive Davis (at the urging of Ronnie Van Zant) to his then-fledgling Arista Records. The band’s first three albums, The Outlaw, Lady In Waiting and Hurry Sundown (featuring such Rock radio favorites as “There Goes Another Love Song,” “Green Grass & High Tides,” “Knoxville Girl” and “Freeborn Man”), would become worldwide Gold and Platinum landmarks of the Southern Rock era. Known as “The Florida Guitar Army” by their fans, The Outlaws earned a formidable reputation as an incendiary live act touring with friends The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band and The Charlie Daniels Band as well as Doobie Brothers, The Who, Eagles and The Rolling Stones. Henry Paul left after the group’s third album to form The Henry Paul Band for Atlantic Records, and later the multi-Platinum country trio Blackhawk. Over the next 20-plus years, The Outlaws would experience rampant personnel changes, tonal missteps, ill-fated reunions and bitter trademark battles that left fans – not to mention Paul and Yoho – frustrated and saddened. And with the tragic deaths of co-founding members Frank O’Keefe and Billy Jones in 1995, and songwriter/vocalist/lead guitarist Hughie Thomasson in 2007, it was feared that The Outlaws’ trail had come to an end.
“The Outlaws were the one area of my career where I had regrets,” admits Paul. “More importantly, I think it was the one area in my career where I thought I still have something to prove. I felt compelled to stick my neck out and take a chance of putting this band back together. I knew we would be judged, but I hoped we would be judged on our abilities.”