“Who wouldn’t want to be an Outlaw?” Counting Crows’ lead singer Adam Duritz asked the crowd as they finished up their secret set on Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee. It was 2:30 a.m. and Mercy Lounge was packed with fans, many who had spent the afternoon into the evening catching the free live music. And judging by room’s energy even as dawn neared, the answer was clear: everyone was proud to be an Outlaw.
The musical line-up included acts from as far away as Australia to as local as East Nashville, each bringing a distinct flavor and sound, and playing nearly all night over the weekend.
Celebrating its ninth showing yet first time in Music City, the Outlaw Roadshow is a family that is bonded together by the love of music. Outlaw alumni are like the seniors in high school, confident in the magic that is about to take place and eager to show the newer artists the ropes (minus the hazing). The relationships that have formed over the years have resulted in musical collaborations both in the studio and on stage, artistic inspiration and most recently, even wine that was curated by Duritz and Outlaw sponsors Standing Sun Winery and fine artist Felipe Molina.
A music showcase that ends in the creation of one of the most elegantly bottled and delicious wines can’t be bad. It’s impossible.
Although every act was something special, AXS.com gives you the top 5 Outlaw Roadshow artists you need to know:
1. Boom Forest
Catching an artists’ breakout performance is as rare as spotting a shooting star. Lucky for everyone present Saturday night, they got to witness lead singer John Paul Roney lighting up the night sky. Boom Forest delivered an electric set that was fit for an arena, combining J.P.’s hauntingly beautiful vocals and a stage presence that is awe-inspiring. What more can you ask for than one of the songwriting greats Adam Duritz singing along front row to your set?
Simply put, Dan Nicklin of OldJack is just groovy. He sauntered on stage in a shirt that aptly read “What would Neil Young do?”, cool shades, and a bandana wrapped around his neck that was tickled by the best red beard in the game. It’s Nicklin’s energy that captivates, and it’s the band’s bluesy soul sound that keeps your body moving throughout the set.
3. The FireTree
It was an act of serendipity that brought The Firetree to the Outlaw Roadshow. Executive Producer Adam Duritz met the Australian duo Josephine and Dale in the airport in New York City on his way to Nashville and after a little conversation, invited them to the kick-off Outlaw BBQ. They ended up playing on Friday night and causing all of Nashville to fall in love with their emotional connection. Whether they were just speaking with their Aussie accents or singing their gorgeous songs, everyone's ears were quite happy.
The Mercy Lounge turned into a giant dance party when ELEL took the stage at midnight on Friday night. Hands were raised high, riding the wave of the beat, to the indie-pop band’s 8-piece sound. ELEL is an act that belongs on the radio, at music festivals, stuck in your head when you're trying to fall asleep....they're infectious and a great choice for a late Friday night set.
5. Daniel Ellsworth and The Great Lakes
The buzz that preceded Daniel Ellsworth was high: clearly, he was a big draw for the people of Nashville. Best of all, he lived up to all expectations with a Jerry Lee Lewis level of passion as he sang every song like it was his last. This guy is all talent and heart, and the band sounds like they’ve been together for twenty years, though their median age is probably close to 25. These guys are definitely one to watch!
The Outlaw team Ryan Spaulding, Adam Duritz, Barbara Rappaport, Joe Clemons, and Frank Germano will bring the Outlaw Roadshow back to New York City this fall. Stay tuned for dates and artist announcements here.