Tonawanda News

Features

June 30, 2013

BOOK NOOK: 'Outlaw' tells tales of even the minor Nashville stars

The first time you heard that song, you were stunned.

You wanted to turn around and listen to it again. 

Was the singer following you around? Did the writer peek into your heart? 

Because every word, every note exactly mirrored how you felt, the hurts you lived, the struggle you endured.

To get that feeling, you just know that the songwriter had to go through that same pain. And in the new book “Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville” by Michael Streissguth, you’ll see that each struggle was worth it.

Music executives and critics visiting Nashville in the 1960s were nothing but critical: The city had a ban on booze sold by the glass, rock & roll shows were attended by police, hillbillies were everywhere and so was segregation — though Nashville did have a reputation for being progressive on race.

Willie Nelson came to Nashville in 1960 after ten years of odd jobs and Texas honky-tonks. He was a clean-cut kind of guy then, and had some success as a songwriter for many major acts, but he wanted to record his own music. He first signed on with Monument Records, but when production slowed more than to his liking, he left Monument and signed on with Chet Atkins and RCA — and fumbled.

Not long after Willie soft-landed onto the Nashville scene, Waylon Jennings came to Nashville against Willie’s advice. Though Willie told Waylon that the city would break his heart, Waylon quickly landed a gig at a club and was “king” in short order. He had a good reputation for music, money — and pills. He also had a stubborn streak, much to Chet Atkins’ chagrin when Waylon signed on at RCA.

In the summer of 1965, Captain Kris Kristofferson, on his way to teach British literature at West Point, stopped at Nashville to meet with a music publisher. Captain Kristofferson grew up in Brownsville, Texas, listening to the Grand Ole Opry show and dreaming of joining Hank Williams onstage. He wrote songs like Hank, from college to his Rhodes Scholar days, to his stint with the military. A few days after arriving in town, he resigned his commission at West Point.

Text Only
Features
  • SUN LIFE fair story 1 072714.jpg More than rides & food

    When the Niagara County Fair opens Wednesday, hundreds of people will enter the county fairgrounds in Lockport for the first of five days of exhibits, shows, rides and food.

    But what not all of the visitors may realize is that much of this summer tradition is the result of months of hard work by 4-H Club members and their leaders and families, all focused on the words of the 4-H motto: “Learn By Doing.”

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE tattoo 1 072714.jpg COLUMN: Behind the tattoo gun

    Tattoos can be a touchy subject. Of course, people have heard they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover; still, people continue to report being denied jobs and being judged harshly for proudly displaying their ink.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - Crib Notes 2014 RGB.jpg CRIB NOTES: No matter what, the kids just want to play the game

    At 35 years old, I may be the oldest person ever to record an out in a kids’ T-ball league.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Visiting the neighbors

    This past week, our lovely neighbors went to the beach for their annual weeklong vacation.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Open gardens 1 072014.jpg Stop and smell the flowers

    More than 90 private gardens throughout Western New York, and a number of public ones, are open to the public for select hours Thursdays and/or Fridays during July as part of the National Garden Festival’s Open Gardens program, now in its fifth year. The program is separate and distinct from local garden walks, and the gardens range from Gasport to Holland. They’re organized into districts of about five to eight gardens each, including Northtowns West (which includes gardens in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda) and Niagara Trail (which includes gardens in Lockport, Gasport and Lewiston).

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE terrariums 1 072014.jpg For the love of nature

    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

    "I try to keep as much growing in the house as I can," she said.

    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE fresh air 1 072014.JPG Getting some fresh air

    As an effort to get children out of the big city and give them a chance to spend part of their summer playing outside, the Fresh Air Fund brings New York City kids to stay with host families for a 10-day trip to a place which is vastly different from their usually surroundings.

    “They will be running outside and playing in the grass and going swimming,” said Cheryl Flick, a fund representative of the Northern Erie and Niagara Counties chapter of the Fresh Air Fund at a picnic for the host families and kids. “They won’t be cooped up inside, they’ll be outside, getting fresh air and being active.”

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - SUN LIFE double trouble 2014.jpg Still waiting for that letter from Hogwarts

    I think it’s true of many parents, that amidst the many challenges and hard work of parenting, we anticipate the day our children grow up just enough ... to like the same things we like, whether it’s as an ongoing phenomenon or a fond childhood memory.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Calling all the basic locavores!

    Did you know that the suffix “vore” comes from the Latin word “voro,” which means to devour? I probably knew that once, but I should have paid better attention in my Latin class. “Vore” is used to form nouns indicating what kind of a diet an animal has, such as omnivore, carnivore and herbivore.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE NT tours 071314.jpg A closer look at NT

    When Explore Buffalo Tours got started about eight months ago, the business concentrated on specialized tours designed to showcase specific aspects of the City of Buffalo’s history, architecture and culture.

    Now the organization is looking to the future and trying out ways to highlight the other unique aspects of the Western New York region. The tours change out each month, but the more popular ones will circulate back in, according to Explore Buffalo Executive Director Brad Hahn. This month it’s test-driving its “North Tonawanda: Lumber City” tour, one of only a few to take place outside the City of Buffalo. (Although a Lockport tour is in the works.)

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo