From Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson to Tyler Childers and Charley Crockett, They Called Us Outlaws will take an expansive look at the rebels of country music. The epic six-chapter, 12-hour documentary from Eric Geadelman will feature interviews and appearances from over 100 artists as it traces the 1970s outlaw country-rock movement through the modern era when it premieres next year.
They Called Us Outlaws – Cosmic Cowboys, Honky Tonk Heroes and The Rise of Renegade Troubadours began a decade ago as a simple independent film on outlaw country music and has since ballooned into a massive historical document. With input from an array of country’s own including executive producer and “Original Outlaw” Jessi Colter and produced in partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, They Called Us Outlaws gets the inside story from those who lived it.
A new trailer for the film hosts interviews with Jessi Colter, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Shooter Jennings, Miranda Lambert, Billy Joe Shaver, Margo Price, Tyler Childers, and Matthew McConaughey.
“From the very first interview with my hero Kris Kristofferson, who set the tone for the entire project, to recent performances and interviews with my contemporaries, the push and pull relationship with the music establishment is intensely felt, but as a way to delve into truth,” narrator and independent country artist Jack Ingram said. “And the truth is, regardless of what you call them (‘outlaws’), these legends were all about ’doing the good work,’ as Kris told us, ‘writing soulful songs.’ And that’s all any of us should aspire towards.”
Among They Called Us Outlaws‘ six chapters is a discussion between Country Music Hall of Fame member and RCA head Jerry Bradley and Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta over the age-old “art vs. commerce” battle. In his segment, Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey attests to the continuing cultural impact of the outlaw country movement, as well as the necessity to keep it alive.
In addition to the genre’s pillars like Bobby Bare, Al Kooper, Chris Gantry, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen, and many more, the film hosts interviews and performances from today’s luminaries including Nathaniel Rateliff, Charley Crockett, Jewel, Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers), Lee Ann Womack, Kelly Willis, Brooks & Dunn, and others. They Called Us Outlaws also features testimonials from late icons including Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Billy Joe Shaver, Leon Russell, Tom T. Hall, Charlie Daniels, Richie Albright, and Fred Foster.
Writer/Director Geadelman said of the project,
What began as a single, indie film – 3,707 days ago – on so-called ‘outlaw country’ somehow became a twelve-hour motion picture document of an era, that provides portraits of a multitude of remarkable artists, songwriters, musicians and producers — some well-known and others more obscure — who had (& have) the courage to follow what’s inside themselves…regardless of industry pressures and societal norms. The historical and cultural significance of their stories are echoed by a multitude of current singer-songwriters that embody the independent ethos of the ‘do it their way’ heroes.
Watch the first trailer for They Called Us Outlaws below and stay tuned for more information. An excerpt of the film will screen next month at AmericanaFest, followed by a discussion with Geadelman and “key players” from the series.
They Called Us Outlaws | Trailer