On November 2, 2022

The legendary Outlaws will perform at the Pickle Barrel Nightclub in Killington this Saturday Nov. 5

By DJ Dave Hoffenberg

Doors open at 7, Chris Pallutto opens the show at 8 p.m. and the Outlaws will take the stage around 9-9:30 p.m. This is the first concert of the winter season and it should be a rocking good time. I had the pleasure of interviewing founding singer/songwriter/guitarist Henry Paul.

The Outlaws are a six piece band. Besides Henry Paul, there will be another lead singer, another lead guitarist, drums, bass and a Hammond B3 organist. They’re known for their harmonies and strong guitar playing. Paul said, “It’s quite the display of talent.”

The Outlaws are in their 50th year of making and playing music. The southern rock legends are known for hits like, “There Goes Another Love Song” and “Green Grass & High Tides.” They tour 12 months with no set start and end date. This tour goes into December and then in February they’ll be on the Rock Legends Cruise X aboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

The Outlaws, with 50 years of legendary southern rock experience, will perform at the Pickle Barrel on Nov. 5. It’s the first concert of the season in Killington and it should be quite a kickoff.

Besides the Outlaws, Paul is the co-founder of BlackHawk; a multi-platinum, chart topping, country group from the ’90s. Between the two, they play about 100 dates a year. Paul said, “It’s a lot of weekend work with some extended trips to the West Coast. All in all we just get up every day, week in and week out, and we just do it. We average a couple of shows a week. Things are always in motion, we’re always coming and going.”

The Outlaws formed in Tampa in 1972, had their first record deal in 1974, recorded their first album in the spring of 1975 and then toured nationally on the strength of the first album’s success. Southern rock was big in the mid-to-late ’70s, so they were a hit in the midst of that. Paul said, “It went into the early ’80s but then MTV, New Wave and stuff like that kind of pushed us aside. We toured successfully through the eighties but in much smaller venues. We kind of roaded out but in the early 2000’s, the renaissance of the musical brands hit and the Outlaws started touring again.” The Outlaws got together in 2005 for a 30th anniversary tour and the band has been performing consistently since then.

Their first album, titled “Outlaws” starts with the hit ‘There Goes Another Love Song’ and ends with their most popular song, ‘Green Grass & High Tides’. Henry said, “That was probably our most popular record, arguably our best record. Usually the first record is strong, you’ve had an entire lifetime to conceive of it. We had some significant help in making it with Paul Rothchild as our producer. It’s safe to say out first album was our most successful.”

Here is how the Outlaws came to be. Henry Paul was in “Sienna” with Monte Yoho who was the original drummer. Henry said, “When members would leave, we would replace them with local fellas in Tampa that Monte had played with. One was Frank O’Keefe and the other, Hughie Thomasson. A little later in the band’s life, Billy Jones joined the group. It came together from coincidence. Our band was different from other local bands. Many mimicked a Top 40 playlist where the Outlaws wrote their own music. The album cuts we did do were a little eclectic and off the beaten path so we had a bit more of a invested musical personality within the group.” They worked in clubs in Tampa and were popular in North Tampa out by the University of South Florida. Paul added, “We had a significant college audience, a hip and groovy kind of thing.”

I’m impressed with bands that got their start back then and are still going strong. It seems nowadays, you need a TV show to be discovered. Henry said, “The TV shows are a shortcut to nowhere. The music industry is predicated on who says what. If someone with credibility says you’re good, then the industry pretty much believes it. If they say you’re not good then you have to live and die by the assessment of other people. We were a very good band with a lot of good songs. We opened for Lynyrd Skynyrd one night in Nashville. Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant called his manager and said he found a band that was up there trying to kick their ass. They had themselves a ‘Free Bird’. He was referring to ‘Green Grass & High Tides’. When we became involved with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s manager, we suddenly found ourselves well represented in the higher ranks of the music industry. From that point on it was kind of a connect the dots. Clive Davis had started his own label (Arista Records) after being fired from Columbia. We didn’t let him down, we cut a great record. He went out and killed for it and we got on the charts.”

Paul is the sole surviving member of the original Outlaws. Three of the five original members are, sadly, deceased and Yoho is retired. Henry said, “I am sort of the last man standing.” Henry is still rocking at age 73. Paul stays busy. The Outlaws have released two studio records and a double live record since 2012. Black Hawk continues to record and release records as well. The latest Outlaws record, “Dixie Highway,” came out just as the pandemic hit. It’s their highest charting album since the early ’80s. Paul said, “It’s an absolutely sensational Outlaws album but all three represent the band’s musical legacy into the 2000s. It’s a uniquely, high quality collection of music. Those three records are something people should seek out.” All their albums are available on their website: outlawsmusic.com.

Both the Outlaws and BlackHawk go up there every night and kill and put on a memorable performance. Paul said, “In many ways we just keep the bar high and never disappoint the audience. We leave them with a positive impression. The fear of failure is a strong motivator. If you get the reaction you’re expecting, you feel like you’re successful.

If you leave Vermont and the Pickle Barrel club owner is ecstatic, he loves the band and the crew is fun to work with and he can’t wait to have you back, that’s what sustains our reputation in our commercial enterprise. Putting a sincere musical offering on stage every night and a very spirited one. Feeling successful with all that on a night by night basis has turned into a lifetime job for me.”

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