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Feature: The Outlaw Orchestra

In this job I discover new bands and artists all of the time. With so much being thrown my way, sometimes it can be hard for just one to really catch my ears in the right way. Lately, I have been rekindling my love for country and southern rock music. The genre was a pretty big part of my childhood and the tones and sounds from the traditional instrumentation can always bring me right back to that time in my life. So imagine my delight when I found out the Hard Rock Hell were putting on C.R.O.W.S Festival  (Country, Rock, Outlaw, Western & Southern). A weekend dedicated to outlaw country and southern style rock music. I browsed through the line up of familiar and new names.  This is where I found out about The Outlaw Orchestra. Their music rang through my ears and immediately captured my attention. Although their production was a little, low budget and choppy here and there, the writing and musicianship was solid and I enjoyed what I heard. It’s old school rock n roll with a bluegrass country style twist, consisting of guitars, drums, double bass and banjo. Although the band are from Southampton, they have the midwest/southern personality to them and you could almost mistake them for an American band.

Forming in the 2016, they wanted to create a blend of rock and country that sounded like it came right from the heart of dixie. I can tell you, after listening to their debut self-titled album (under their previous name Dirty Diesel Outlaw Orchestra), that it is safe to say I’ve become somewhat of a fan of their work. Even with the aforementioned production issues, the album itself is a great piece of work full of riffy blues and twangy bluegrass tones. It’s a really fun listen, immediately likeable and replayable. The music gritty, down to earth and grounded and they use creative license in all of the language/lyrics they use, creating some cool imagery. They have an energy to their music, it feels alive and the solid riff work keeps the album flowing at a consistent pace. It kind of reminds me of the bands in the folk-punk genre, such as The Rumjacks or Dropkick Murphys, however change the Irish folk melodies with more of a focus on bluegrass elements. So you know... like Hayseed Dixie.

Then you have their latest work, their new EP, The Devil Made Me Do It. Which I think is a really well made and show the bands growth. On a sheer production level, the music sounds better for one. Everything is a little cleaner and the instruments sound excellent. In particular the banjo, I’m a huge fan of the instrument in general and with the way it’s played here, it is truly exquisite. The song See You In Hell is the track that shows this off the best in my opinion. I have to say the moment I put this EP on I was jamming to it. I found it a lot of fun and it brought a smile to my face. It all just comes together so nicely and the country elements are really well blended with the rock parts. They created this sound that is so fitting and really natural. A great listen all around and it feels like they have really captured the style they want to commit to. The bass thumps, the banjo twangs away and the vocal performance is fantastic you can really hear the passion in the band when they play.  

The band have worked hard to keep appearances up with constant gigs and securing endorsement deals with the likes of Pistonhead Lager and Cloven Hoof Rum. They’ve performed at various festivals and generally garner favourable reviews from what I’ve seen. This makes me eager to check them out live. Which I will get to do at HRH C.R.O.W.S. Festival at Sheffield Academy in September. However if i can get to seen them sooner, I will definitely take the chance. This is a band I am really excited about with new music under their belt and big shows coming up such as Planet Rocks Winters End Festival (they play on Sunday 25th Feb) and with this new EP. They seem to be set to really take off in 2018.