Top Outlaw Country Songs

Top Outlaw Country Songs

Believe it or not, country music at one point was a genre which was hard to popularize and profit from. Country was a traditional style music normally enjoyed live and varied greatly from region to region. It wasn’t until the Nashville style of country came along and created a consistent standard for the genre that it was finally able to see mass appeal.

Top Outlaw Country Songs

Eventually a sub-genre called outlaw country rose up in almost direct response to the slick, mass produced patterns of the Nashville style and brought a bit of attitude to the popular country music scene. Even if the term outlaw country sounds unfamiliar, it is incredibly likely that you are already familiar with the genre without having been aware of it. The following songs are some of the most well known and culturally influential songs to have spawned from the movement. Enjoy these top outlaw country songs.

Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash

A quintessential example of the outlaw style and charm is Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. Cash actually got the chance to perform this song at Folsom Prison for one of his live albums before going on to record another album at San Quentin.

Cash, also known as the man in black, is probably one of the most well known outlaw country artists. His songs have been sampled for countless movies, commercials, and trailers over the years. If you’ve ever seen any sort of cowboy movie made after the 70s then chances are good that you’ve heard at least one of his songs.

Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, Willie Nelson

While for many artists the term “outlaw” country is just a label, for Willie Nelson it’s a little bit more on the nose. Nelson has infamously had more than a few run-ins with the law, mainly for marijuana possession. Despite this, Nelson is popularly thought of as more of a good natured hooligan than a serious criminal.

Nelson’s Blue Eyes is a somber ballad full of longing and love gone by. While there’s normally a touch of the sentimental in most outlaw country songs, it really takes the spotlight here.

Ladies Love Outlaws, Waylon Jennings

The song Ladies Love Outlaws is argued by many to be the origin of where the “outlaw” in outlaw country comes from. If this is the case, then that would make singer Waylon Jennings and songwriter Lee Clayton the pioneers of the genre. The song itself also sets a standard for outlaw country both in sound and subject matter. The refrain of the song, “ladies love outlaws,” can be applied not only to ladies, but the populace in general. There’s a certain appeal in outlaws that ring true with almost everyone. The song itself more or less explains why the subgenre caught on.

Mama Tried, Merle Haggard

If you want to dig even deeper into the history of outlaw country, you’ll have to go back and look at the “Bakersfield Sound.” The type of country music pioneered in Bakersfield, California could be seen as almost a predecessor to outlaw country in that it too also shrugged the conventions set by the extremely popular Nashville style of country music. Merle Haggard was a musician heavily inspired by some of the biggest names in Bakersfield style country such as Buck Owens. Haggard’s music specifically can be seen as an update of the ‘50s and 60’s Bakersfield style brought into the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Mama Tried sticks to a popular theme in outlaw country- the laments of a remorseful criminal that the audience can’t help but feel sorry for. While justice usually prevails in this sub genre, we’re still allowed to root for the criminal and enjoy some of the thrill. There’s a certain amount of catharsis involved before the status quo is returned.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Charlie Daniels

The Devil Went Down To Georgia is much beloved for its narrative similar to that of traditional country fables. Devil also features some of the finest fiddle performances in country that manage to incorporate elements from blues and rock. This song and story has inspired countless aspects of popular media and has even been featured contemporaneously in video games and internet memes.

Jackpot, Nikki Lane

While many are quick to assume that country music is generally a man’s genre, the history of country has been shaped just as much by female musicians. The outlaw movement is no exception, with many notable women adopting or adding to the style.

More importantly, Nikki Lane is a much more recent example of outlaw country. While the sub-genre saw the most activity during the 70’s and 80’s, artists like Nikki Lane keep it alive. Jackpot is a great example that carries the same energy and devil may care attitude as many of the old classics.

King of the Road, Roger Miller

In this song, the outlaw aspect is present conceptually more than literally. The idea and romanticism associated with outlaws is generally that of freedom, which this song celebrates and reveres. Freedom might not always be glamorous, but there’s a certain magical element to it captured very well in this song.

Country Line Dancing

Popular Country Line Dances

One of things that makes country music the very best of all the tunes out there is the ability it has to bring folks together on the dance floor. Some would even say you’ve never truly listened to country music until you’ve danced to country music. There is something charming and old-fashioned about dancing in a group, which makes going out line dancing to country music such a fun time. Compared to Salsa or Tango, line dancing is friendly to those who are learning the steps, so no need to be shy.

We’ve wrangled up a list of the most popular country line dances that are sure to get your boots tapping!

Popular Country Line Dances

Electric Slide

An oldie but a goodie, the Electric Slide offers the perfect place for dipping your cowboy boots into line dancing for the first time. This four wall, 18 count line dance was originally choreographed by Richard L.”Ric” Silver in 1976, gaining viral popularity in the late 80s and early 90s. Branching beyond the country genre, it was paired with Marcia Griffiths’ Electric Boogie. For a more traditional get down we recommend Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance” or Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It.” Here’s a step sheet and a tutorial video below that will have you doing grapevines all over the dance floor before you know it!

The Cowboy Cha Cha

Choreographed by Kelly Gellette & Michelle Stremche, this one has a lot of turns. It might take a bit of practice, but trust us, it’s a heck of a lot of fun once you’ve got it down! This step sheet gives a good run down of the four wall, 20 count dance. Colorado’s own Brooke & Company does an excellent demo (shown below) of this one, dancing you through everything you’ll need to know. The Cowboy Cha Cha lends itself to a handful of songs, but most often you’ll find yourself rocking back and forth to Neon Moon by Brooks & Dunn. From time to time, it will be paired with a more uptempo to tune such as Gone Country by Alan Jackson.

Double D

The Double D, also known as Duck Dynasty, is a newer line dance on the scene, choreographed by Trevor Thorton in 2015. A four wall, 32 count dance this is done to “Cut ‘em All” by Colt Ford Featuring Willie Robertson and has plenty of rocking back and forth to get you grooving. Here’s the steps break down and you can try it out for yourself with this Double D demo:

Tango with The Sheriff

Most of us do our best to avoid run-ins with law enforcement, but Tango with The Sheriff is one encounter you won’t want to miss out on. Choreographed by Adrian Churm, this four wall, 48 count dance is a delightful mixture of slides and box steps. Practice stomping along with the video below and gear up to dance to this one with “Cha Tango” by Dave Sheriff.

Bring on the Good Times

This four wall, 32 count dance choreographed by Gary O’Reilly & Maggie Gallagher absolutely lives up to its name. With a mixture of claps, slides, and struts Bring on the Good Times makes for a fun transition between beginner to intermediate level line dances.  Coupled to Lisa McHugh’s song of the same name, you’d never know this one has Irish roots…to us it sounds as country as all get out! For this one, we will have these French cowboys and cowgirls show how it’s done:

Tush Push

On par with the popularity of the Electric Slide is the Tush Push, one of the most widespread line dances found on the dancefloor over the last twenty years. Choreographed by Jim Ferrazzano, this four wall, 40 count dance earns its name from plenty of hip bumps and cha-chas as detailed in this step sheet. Some great songs are Brooks & Dunn classic “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” which makes for a great match with Tush Push, as does Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee.” Let’s have Robert Wilson, five-time world champion of country dance, working with artists like Taylor Swift, Kerry Underwood, Brad Lesley, take us through this one:

Step sheets and YouTube videos are helpful, but there is no replacement for hitting the dance floor to practice those shuffles and slides! With thousands of different line dances out there, we could keep rambling on, but why not grab your dancing boots, come on by the Grizzly Rose for a line dance lesson or two? We promise to show you why the most popular country line dance steps and a hoot and hollerin’ good time!

Jon Pardi Exclusive Interview

Interview with Jon Pardi

We’re very excited for our upcoming show with Jon Pardi! We had the opportunity to ask Jon some questions to get to know a bit more about him, here’s what we found out.

Tickets are no longer available online for purchase in advance. The only way to purchase tickets in advance now is through Great West Trailers. Please call Great West Trailers in advance to verify that tickets are still available a their location as supplies are limited.

As always, tickets will be held at the door the day of show when doors open at 6pm. First come, first serve – one ticket per customer. Once purchased you must enter and no reentry is allowed.

Jon Pardi Grizzly Rose

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

YES! It’s been a couple of years, but we are excited to be back!

We’ve heard that you started writing music before you were even a teenager. What inspired you to want to be a musician at such a young age?

My grandmother was a big inspiration for me. I grew up listening to 90’s country so all those guys inspired me as well.

You’re a California boy who moved to Nashville to pursue a dream of becoming a country musician. Which do you prefer California or Tennessee?

I prefer AMERICA!

Your California roots are more blue collar than the stereotypical Orange County, surfer boy type. Tell us a bit about why this is important to you and how it shaped you as an artist.

Man, that’s just how I grew up. I’ve always worked hard and I carried that work ethic into music with me. It’s what helped drive me to Nashville.

If you could team up with one other country artist right now to record a duet album and go on tour, who would it be and why?

Gotta go with Dierks. I am out on tour with him right now. The album would be called “Jon and Dierks sing Frank Sinatra”

Jon Pardi Exclusive Interview

A lot of people talk about your voice and that it has a very old-school country sound to it. Is this something you deliberately worked on to give a certain tone to your music or is just something you were born with?

I’ve been twangy since I was 7!

How many instruments can you play?

Guitar and drums.

What is Jon Pardi doing when he’s not playing music or touring the country?

Working on my ranch and renting bulldozers!!

What’s your favorite song that you’ve written so far and why?

“Head Over Boots” because it was my first #1! Everyone loved this song and I really think it had a big impact on couples.

Top Red Dirt Country Songs

If you’re a big fan of country music, then you’ve definitely heard of red dirt music! It’s a musical style that’s rough around the edges, and it can really spur up the rebellious outlaw in you, so we’ve put together a list of the top red dirt country songs to get you going!

Top Red Dirt Country Music Songs

What Is Red Dirt Country Music?

Red Dirt is a style of country music that comes out of Stillwater, OK. We can get even more specific and say that it came blasting out of a house called the Farm, owned by Bob Childers – the father of the musical style.

As with any type of music, it’s hard to limit it to one specific definition, but there are many traits that most songs in the genre follow. It’s basically the rebellious side of country music, and the mindset is as important as the music itself. Most of the time it has a folky sound to it, but the lyrics are often edgier than the more mellow styles of country music. Because of the mindset behind it, a lot of the artists borrow from other musical styles when making their magic.

Now, for a sample of some of the best.

Restless Dreams

Tom Skinner

This one’s a bit of a mix of history because Restless Dreams is a song by Bob Childress, but this version is done by one of the other originals out of the Farm, Tom Skinner. The title says it all with this one, because Red Dirt music is perfect for anyone with a restless spirit.

Red Dirt Roads at Night

Jimmy LaFave

Here’s one that’s about those Stillwater days, plain and simple. It talks about all the great things he misses from the good ol’ days of his youth, but the top of the list is cruising down the red dirt roads at night. If that doesn’t make you want to hop in the car and road trip it to Oklahoma, nothing will.

Shortenin’ Bread

The Tractors

Steve Ripley is one of the leaders of the Tractors, and he’s a man with heavy influence on the Red Dirt music. That’s because his earlier band, Moses, self-published a live album in the early 70s, and they said it was made by “Red Dirt Records.” This was the first usage of the name, but it definitely stuck around.

Gin, Smoke, Lies

Turnpike Troubadors

Gin and smoke and lies – this is obviously a song about a broken heart. Since it’s a feeling that most of us will have one time or another throughout our lives, it’s a popular topic for songs. But, most styles of music can’t pull it off like a Red Dirt song can. Heartbreak was never so raw.


Cross Canadian Ragweed

This young band managed to blow up big, and they helped spread the Oklahoma sounds around the country.  They were named as a combination of the last names of the original group, and they were a college band in Stillwater who just happened to be in the right place at the right time – for all of us.

Somewhere Down in Texas

Jason Boland and the Stragglers

Red Dirt music may have come out of Oklahoma, but it also grew and evolved in Texas. There are arguably two different versions of it depending on which state it comes from, but this song shows just how connected it all is.

Cry Pretty

Jason Eady

We’ve all had that awkward moment when you run into an old love interest unexpectedly. The raw sounds and feelings in this really speak to the thoughts that rush through your head when it happens. After all, if you think someone cries pretty, you know there’s been some love there.

Trains I Missed

Walt Wilkins

We all know that it’s a big ol’ world, and we have plenty of choices that define our futures. Do you have regrets? Walt Wilkins did, and here he belts out a passionate song about it all. Good thing he started performing, because we’d all regret it without his contribution to Country.

Carry On

Pat Green

Pat Green is a Texan who embraced the Red Dirt style and built quite a name for himself with his own fearless musical style. A song like this is good advice because he reminds you that sometimes you should just let loose and enjoy your life!

The Goes on Forever

Robert Earl Keene

“The road goes on forever, and the party never ends.” A lyric like that is enough to show why Red Dirt music is so popular.

What’s Your Favorite?

Just like with any list, it’s tough to pick out all of the best. Did we miss anything? What’s your favorite Red Dirt song?

Country Music Best

Why Country Music is the Best

Country music is the best, but you probably already know that! Whether you’re a lifelong fan or just started listening, have you ever stopped to think about what it is that makes it so great? Even through all the different types played by various artists over the years, most of it shares some common traits that contribute to it having such a fun and nice feel to it. It’s more than just the sound, and it also has to do a lot with the lifestyle.

Mosey on through this list to see some of the reasons why country music is the best.

Why Country Music is the Best

Positive Values

Some music styles follow rebellious themes that encourage people to become trouble makers, and others flat out promote breaking the law and hurting others. Fortunately, country music most often pumps out positive values to listeners. Many, but not all, follow positive messages that help people on a bad day, or encourage them to make the world a better place when they’re on top. While so many other genres nowadays are all about showing off a certain lifestyle, country music more often than not is about enjoying the outdoors and the people around you.


Aside from just being uplifting and positive, a lot of country songs celebrate life in the USA. It makes sense given the all-American history of the genre. While there are some similar genres in other countries, for the most part country music is an American thing, and we like it that way! It came out of the folk and blues music in the South, and it spread its way across the vast beauty of America. Country music makes people feel proud of their country and a great reason why country music is the best.

Country Music is Best

Modern Hits Are as Good as the Classics

Like all types of music, country has gone through some changes over the years. You might prefer the raw sound of the old timers, or maybe you like the evolved crispness of the new artists. But, whether your favorite is Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, or Blake Shelton, most people agree that all the eras of country had nice sounds.

Great for Dancing

If you haven’t tried dancing to country music, then you’ve never really listened to it! Unlike many other forms of popular music, country dancing allows you to get out and get involved with a group of people, so it has an extra social aspect. You can try one of the Two-Step forms, or a Western group like the Line or Square dance. There’s something nice and old-fashioned about dancing with a partner or in a group, which makes going out and dancing to country music such a great time!

Don’t be shy about trying to learn some dancing. It’s fairly easy compared to other types (like Salsa or Tango) and learning to get the steps down is always fun. At the Grizzly Rose we offer a variety of dance lessons for both individuals and couples.

Why Country is the Best Type of Music

Clean Lyrics

Another benefit of country music is that most of it is family friendly. It very rarely has any bad words or other questionable lyrics, so you won’t find yourself covering the ears of little cowboys and cowgirls listening along. And when you mix that with the first point about family values, you find that country music is a great art form to create an activity for families of all ages.

Brings People Together

Whether you’re young, or old, or single, or parents of five, there are plenty of ways country music can bring you together as a social activity. Putting it on the speakers while hanging out at home really puts on a nice background, but going to a dance hall or live concert give you a more active way to make use of your cowboy boots. There are songs that are perfect for romantic dates, and others that really liven up a backyard barbecue. Country music is a great way to bring people together.

Why Country Music is the Best

Cowboy Fashion

Speaking of cowboy boots, one of the most fun parts of country music is the fashion around it. Inspired by the Wild West, everyone gets to wear boots, hats, belt buckles, checkered shirts, and all the other fun gear designed for roaming the plains on horseback. Fortunately, this gives the freedom to be at the height of fashion without needing to hold up a stagecoach to pay for it, and the different variations make it possible for people of all ages and body tops to look good.

Grab Your Dancin’ Boots!

Of course, this list could go on forever about all the wonders of country music, but we’re sure you’re already convinced! If you aren’t convinced that country music is the best, then come on by the Grizzly Rose and we will show you why it’s such a fantastic good time!

Chase Bryant Grizzly Rose Interview

Interview with Chase Bryant

Chase Bryant Grizzly Rose

We are excited to be hosting Chase Bryant on Friday, March 31st at 8:00pm.

To purchase tickets to the show please click here.

We had the chance to interview Chase to learn a bit more about his band.

Have you played a show at the Grizzly Rose before?

I have! The first show we ever played there was a big sell out show! Let’s do it again!

We are always curious as to what musicians are listening to. Who is an artist in any genre that you are into at the moment?

The 1975’s. The melodies are so incredibly infectious!

Life as an artist means you are on the road a lot. How do you keep yourself entertained while you are on the road?

Sleep as much as I can! I’m an early riser however! I love the newspaper. I know I sound like a hundred years old!

Tell us something that your fans probably wouldn’t expect about your band?

We’re all a bunch of neat freaks! A clean bus is a happy bus!

What is the most memorable show that you were in attendance for that impacted you as an artist?

Man, that’s tough! Probably Bryan White or Steve Wariner!

Chase Bryant Grizzly Rose Interview

What about your favorite show that you played in?

The first Grizzly Rose show. It was for me and my entire band!

Let’s talk about ‘being country.’ Was there a time in your life where you really felt like you embodied the country lifestyle?

Must have been county fairs showing goats, cows, and chickens! Haha…

When you are not on the road or playing music, what are you doing?

Either hunting, fishing, or cooking! I love all three. They all run hand in hand!

Is there a part about being a country musician that you don’t like?

Actually, thinking about what I’d do if I wasn’t a musician! It’s the greatest feeling I’ve ever known.

Is there a particular song that you prefer to perform live?

I love playing some covers. Anything from The Chainsmokers, to Stevie Wonder!

Connect with Chase Bryant






Cole Taylor Cold Beer

An Interview with Cole Taylor

Cole Taylor Cold Beer

Tonight we have the pleasure of hosting Cole Taylor for a country music concert at the Grizzly Rose. We were able to interview him beforehand to get the inside scoop about his life as a musician. We are very excited for the show and here is what Cole had to say.

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

I have not but I’ve heard a ton about it and can’t wait to be in Denver.

Where was the most memorable show you ever played and why?

I think the most memorable for me was a pre show at Turner Field for the Atlanta Braves and for the simple reason that I’m such a huge Braves fan that even now looking back that was still a cool moment

If at this point in your life you could no longer work as a musician or in the music industry at all, what profession would you pursue?

I probably would have finished my accounting degree or I’d be working for my dad back in Georgia doing taxidermy and deer processing

If you had to change genres of music as an artist, what would you choose to play?

Pop music has always been really interesting to me so probably pop.

Who were your biggest influences?

Garth Brooks was a huge influence just seeing how he could have a crowd on the edge of their seats and make them feel every bit of energy he was feeling.

Which song is currently the most fun for you to perform live?

My new single “Cold Beer” is a blast to play live. It’s just a big chorus in your face, real energetic and lyrically right down what I do and who I am.

If you had to live in one state for the rest of your life besides the one you came from, where would you choose to live?

I’m from South GA and Nashville TN is where I live now. I love both of those places. But if I had to choose one just random place that I love, it would be Steamboat Springs, CO. Went there last February and LOVED IT!

Michael Ray Interview

Michael Ray at the Grizzly Rose Saturday, October 22nd. Tickets:


Why/how did you decide to become a musician?

Grew up in Eustis with his family’s band his granpa dad uncles and cousins all played. You could say that I was born into country music.


Who were your biggest influences and why?

My Grandfather – he introduced my family and myself to country music. I’m a huge Gary Allan fan, I admire the honesty in songs and Garth Brooks of course.


What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written and why?

A year ago Yesterday – Keep an ear out for it.


Is there anything you are working on right now that you can share?

Been working up some surprises that you’ll see on the Think a Little Less Tour – You’ll have to come to the shows to find out!


Being born in Florida was there any inspiration from this area that comes through in your music?

More so than Florida, a small town. Growing up in a small town comes through in all of my music I feel  – Nashville has been a influence on my writing and career.


What’s your creative process for developing a song? Do you draw on personal experiences?

Yes…. And No – Sometimes I can relate to the emotions of a friend or something I saw on TV or read in a book  – Sometimes I write about my own. Connecting to the emotion, even if it is not your own, is what I try to do in my songs.


What’s your favorite song that is currently out right now and why?

Darius Rucker – If I told You

Being out on tour with Darius this summer and hearing it every night it is on the soundtrack of my summer, it’s one of the most honest songs that I can remember hearing in a while.


What’s your favorite thing about playing at the Grizzly Rose?

Headlining it is a dream come true

The best thing about playng the grizzly roase is that I get to play the grizzly rose!!!! Can’t wait to see you all there!


What’s one thing you would like to tell all your fans?

To thank them and that I love them and I am grateful their support

History of Two Step

History of the Two Step

All fans of country music know that it was absolutely made for dancing, and there are plenty of different styles that you can let loose to. One of the most popular types is the Two Step, and this is one that you have to try if you haven’t already!

Even if you’re already a master at this dance, do you know the history behind it? If not, kick off your dancing boots for a few minutes and read on! A little bit of learning will allow you to show off your knowledge as well as your dance moves next time you’re in the Grizzly Rose.

Origins of the Two Step

History of Two Step

As with many great things in history, it’s hard to say exactly when the Two Step was originally created. But, it didn’t just come moseying on in one day. Instead, it was basically a mixture of the Foxtrot and the One Step, two other dances that were quite popular in the past. This was all going on in the early part of the 1800s, and these styles had their roots in the waltzes that were popular throughout Europe at the time. The first common name coined for this dance was the “valse a deux temps,” however, a French name didn’t quite match with the feeling of the dance, so it was eventually traded to become the Two Step.

Development of the Dance

The Two Step has gone through many changes over the years, but the early days of the dance become popular thanks to some music created by the famous composer John Philip Sousa. He wrote a song called the Washington Post March in 1889, and the pattern of the song pushed people to drop the more traditional gliding dances in favor of the style of the Two Step.

As an interesting little side note, the song was in fact named for the famous paper in our nation’s capital. The paper was hosting an awards ceremony for an essay contest, and they wanted to have some patriotic music playing. So, the leader of the United States Marine band wrote the song, and you can thank the newspaper business for helping to inspire one of your favorite pastimes!

These dances at the beginning were very different from the Two Step that you dance today. It was really various versions of the Foxtrot back then, but the important part is that they started moving one-step and two-step moves into popularity. Kids particularly liked dancing these moves when they were learning how to square dance, and they were so fun that they wanted to stick with them as they grew up.

The Country Two Step

The dance is often called the Texas Two Step or the Country Two Step, and those names came from the period when it started to separate from the Foxtrot. It was popular in the south, as is quite common with country music, so plenty of people in Texas were dancing along to it.

Evolution of the Two Step

Two Step Dancing History

There were many different changes made to the dance over the years, but there was one particular instance that really spread it around. The movie Urban Cowboy came out in 1980, and of course people were impressed by John Travolta’s dance moves. The fact that it takes place primarily in a bar called Gilley’s in the Lone Star State is another reason this dance often has Texas stamped at the front.

But, the Two Step has gone through quite a few changes even since people agreed on a name. The early days saw dancers kicking back and forth down the floor in a straight line, but it slowly changed into the circular pattern that we know and love today.

How to Dance

Do you know how to do the dance? Let’s go over that to help all of this make sense! It’s done with partners (one is the “leader,” and the other is the “follower”), and they start out by facing each other. The leader obviously does the leading, and the pair goes counterclockwise around the dance floor. Various patterns of steps are followed (a mixture of quick and slow), and it depends on the dancers and exactly which style they’d like to do.

Learn to Two Step at the Grizzly Rose

On second thought, we can write about it all day, but let’s be honest for a second. You shouldn’t learn a dance by reading it, or even by watching online videos. You need to be in a Country Western environment surrounded by good music, cowboy hats, and plenty of friends!

So, do you want to learn these moves yourself? We have Two Step classes at the Grizzly Rose, so sign up and grab your boots! There are options for both group classes and private lessons for couples. We’ll have turn you into a master in no time, then you’ll be able to dance your nights away in true country style.

Exile Country Music Live Performance

Interview with Marlon Hargis from Exile

Interview with Marlon Hargis Exile


Exile has been gracing the ears of country music fans for over 40 years. What started as a rock band and eventually transformed into playing country music, Exile has played music all over the world. At the Grizzly Rose we recently had the pleasure of hosting them for a live country music show. We had the chance to chat with bass player Marlon Hargis to get some more information about this longstanding famous band. Here’s what we learned.

Q: How was your experience playing at the Grizzly Rose? Have you played here before?

A: We played back in the 80’s at the Grizzly Rose. It was so long ago, can’t remember exactly what date. We definitely remembered the venue though. Although it was brief, we enjoyed our time here. The food was delicious and the staff were very helpful and friendly. We love the venue, it has a really nice and unique vibe. We would love the opportunity to come back sometime!

Q: Besides the Grizzly Rose, where’s your favorite venue you have every played?

A: This is a tough question because we’ve been playing a long time and had a chance to play all over the world. Playing at Wembley Stadium in London is definitely a place we will always remember. We also played a few different venues back in the 80’s in South Africa, and I remember a show we did in Capetown that was very memorable. We also played Farm Aid II festival out in Texas, near Austin, back in the 80’s not far from Willie Nelson’s ranch. There were a lot of great bands there with us like Willie, Joe Walsh, and many others. One other place that we will never forget was playing on the original tonight show with Johnny Carson. Seeing all those famous people watching us perform, that was something we will never forget.

Kiss You All Over Exile


Q: What is you favorite song to perform live?

A: This is another tough question to answer because it changes often. We’ve been in the music business so long the songs our favorite songs to perform have changed a lot over the years. If we had to choose one at this moment in time it would have to be “Kiss you all over.” This is because it gets the biggest reaction from the crowd. One of my personal favorites at the moment is “It’ll be me.” We have a lot of fun playing that song, but I’m sure if you asked me again in a few months there’s a good chance it could be different.

Q: If none of you were playing country music, what would be your professions instead?

A: If we weren’t still playing music, we would be working in the music industry. Honestly, we don’t really know anything else, this is what we’ve done for most of our lives. Back in the day I ran a music store, I was also a property manager at one point, and did some music management things too. I think music management would be most fitting for all of us nowadays due to our long tenure in the industry.

Q: Who are your main inspirations?

A: The Beatles were a major inspiration to us. The whole British Invasion really inspired us to want to be musicians. A lot of it had to do with timing because that was popular when we were teenagers. That kinda music changed the world in the form of politics, fashion, etc… Motown groups were also big for us like Marvin Gaye and the Temptations. We are from Kentucky and soul music was big there so it was another big source of inspiration. Some people compare us to the Eagles and that’s another group we admired and were inspired by.

Exile Country Music Live Performance


Q: How did you all meet each other and become a band?

A: Back in 1963 is about when we started as ‘The Exiles’ (this changed over time to be simply ‘Exile’). We all started playing music in little bands in little towns across Kentucky. JP Parrington our guitar player had been around the longest, but honestly we all kinda started together randomly. At the time we were just high school kids who wanted to play music because it was a way to meet girls and have fun. We never would have guessed they would still be playing now. It was just kind of a dream that happened!

Q: Any advice to aspiring musicians out there?

A: If you don’t love music, don’t even get started in it, because it’s a really tough business and so many bands don’t make it. You must have passion for it. Always keep trying. However if you do truly love music than go for it and never give up. I had a friend who decided to pursue a career in business instead of being a musician and he ended up being very successful. However he always told me “there’s a hole in my soul because I didn’t pursue music.” So keep plugging away and make it work if it’s what you really want.

Q: Any other thoughts you would like to share with your fans out there?

A: There’s a great book written about us with an in depth history of our band. It’s called 50 Years of Exile: The Story of a Band in Transition (Click here for a link to the book on Amazon).

For more information on the band, check out the Exile Website of their Facebook Page.