The Outlaws to bring southern rock to South Park

The Outlaws to bring southern rock to South Park

From The Almanac // August 7, 2017
By Eric SeiverlingFor The [email protected]
Don’t ask Henry Paul about being labeled a southern rock band, who along with Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, the Charlie Daniels Band and Molly Hatchet, helped push that style of music into the forefront of rock radio in the 1970s and early ‘80s.

The founder, singer and guitarist of the classic rock icons The Outlaws doesn’t want to hear it.

“I don’t mean to sound cavalier about it, but none of that mattered to me,” Paul said from his Nashville studio where he’s currently working on an album of acoustic Christmas songs. “I’m friends with guys from those other bands and the camaraderie was real. But, I just do what I do with who I do it with.”

With a career that spans over 40 years and includes FM radio staples “Green Grass and High Tides” and “There Goes Another Love Song,” Paul and his bandmates are on the road again this summer, and play close to 100 concerts a year. The band will perform at the South Park Amphitheater on Aug. 11 as part of Allegheny County Parks Free Summer Concert Series.

“We stay pretty busy, but we don’t get too bogged down,” Paul said of touring. “I have a beautiful boy and beautiful young wife, so I do miss them. But, we have fun on the road and we make a good racket.”

Paul is also quick to point out that he’s not concerned about reliving the band’s glory days.

“Every band has its time and you can only be new once,” he said. “After 40 years, it comes down to closing out your career with respectability. Our fans want to hear the music as it was back in the ‘70s. I stick to the script and I’m very, very careful not to lose the essence of the record. I take that responsibility very seriously.”

One aspect the band has changed is meeting and talking with its fans, something Paul said he couldn’t do back in the ‘70s.

“Back then, it was so fast forward, we couldn’t do anything,” Paul said. “Now, we can talk with the fans and that means a lot to me.”

While The Outlaws have had their share of success, the band has also experienced its share of heartbreaks. In 1995, members Frank O’Keefe and Billy Jones died, and in 2007 the band’s singer, guitarist and founding member Hughie Thomasson died at the age of 55.

“You can feel who they were,” Paul said of performing songs written by his late bandmates. “You keep them in the back of your mind.”

But, even with his busy schedule, Paul is excited to perform in the Pittsburgh area.

“Pittsburgh has been wonderful to The Outlaws and it’s like a second home to us,” he said with a laugh. “My wife is from Uniontown, so I know all about the culture of the area. There’s a lot of black and gold in my house.”

The Outlaws will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at the South Park Amphitheater with special guest The Steppin Stones.
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