This year, CLC’s video for “Outlaws,” the radio-friendly anthem he wrote to honor his own role models from Hank Williams to Keith Whitley and Waylon Jennings, has quickly generated nearly 30,000 YouTube views and is ready to be presented to Country Music Television, Great American Country, and RFD-TV to reach millions of country fans.
“Here’s a hellraisin’ Outlaw country song I wrote back in ’07,” Curtis tells his fans, many of whom have followed his remarkable career as a singer and songwriter since he was one of St. Louis’s most popular nightclub performers in the early 1990s.
“It’s simply a song reflecting some of my heroes in music,” CLC continues. “The Outlaw Movement, with Waylon, Willie, David Allan Coe, Boecphus, Paycheck, and other great artists gave us all the music that we strive to keep alive. That music to me is timeless, it never gets old. Keep it alive by spreading `Outlaws,’ and thanks for listening.”
Over 29,000 folks already have watched “Outlaws,” which was co-produced by CLC’s publishing and songwriting partner Captain Joe Kent of Boat Trash Music.
The song is constantly requested at Curt’s shows, and the new video has the unique ability to be totally current while at the same time stepping back through 75 years of country history, both musically and visually.
But what about today’s Top 40 country artists?
“I’m not crazy about the direction new country is going. I grew up a Merle and Waylon fan,” CLC says in a phone conversation from his aptly named country hometown of Festus, Missouri.
Countless country fans from coast to coast couldn’t agree more.
In the “Outlaws” video, as CLC looks fondly over album covers from Waylon, George Jones, Keith Whitley, and others, fans will notice a guitar lick that might sound like one of Waylon’s, a vocal riff reminiscent of Hank Williams, and a sentiment that Jones mentioned in both the record and video for his 1985 classic “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes.”
Other artists who have attempted to sing about earlier icons have almost disappeared into their own videos, but one of the beauties of “Outlaws” is that from the very opening frame, this one is a Cook video all the way. From the signature black cowboy hat to the setting in the Missouri countryside he loves so well, some of the most gorgeous farmland in the USA, the voice and persona of Curtis Lyn Cook shine through every second and every note.
Captain Joe Kent and Curtis Lyn Cook have brought a much-needed breath of fresh air and a jolt of creative energy to Music Row and country radio. With “Outlaws,” this dynamic duo is poised to do the same for country’s prime TV outlets.
By Phil Sweetland
Music & Radio contributor, The New York Times