Willie, Waylon, and the Boys: How Nashville Outsiders Changed Country Music Forever

Hachette. Jun. 2024. 464p. ISBN 9780306831089. $32.50. MUSIC
Supergroups (bands consisting of members already famous of their own accord) are generally thought of as a rock phenomenon. But in the 1970s through the 1990s, four country superstars—Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson—came together to record three albums as the Highwaymen. Not only were they a force together, but as individuals they all stood against the slickness of Nashville and forged their own styles. Fairbanks’s (Wizards: David Duke, America’s Wildest Election, and the Rise of the Far Right) well-researched and enjoyable book is not a history of the Highwaymen as a group. Instead, it’s about four individual artists whose paths intertwined throughout their most productive years. The narrative doesn’t shy from the truth about these men either; it covers their creative failures, broken relationships, and substance-use disorders.
VERDICT Fairbanks keeps the story moving, deftly changing from one musician to another throughout the book. This volume sings on each page and is suited to any library’s music history section.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing