Coffee Break: Outlaw country

Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson performs at The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson at Bridgestone Arena on March 16, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Essential Broad)

It's the 88th birthday today of Willie Nelson - one of the most popular country figures of all time - especially in the "outlaw country" movement of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Outlaw country was a rejection of the polished, "slick" sound and the commercial control of the Nashville recording industry, and the songs often centered around gritty topics like criminal lifestyle, anti-law enforcement, poverty and substance abuse. The movement's roots are a mix of blues, honkey tonk, rockabilly and rock & roll.

For today's Coffee Break, let's celebrate the early figures of the outlaw country movement like Willie Nelson, and those that have continued the attitude and the spirit of outlaw country into modern day times. Who should we play?

Respond with your song ideas in the comments below.

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Songs played

Willie Nelson - Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
Nikki Lane - Highway Queen
Steve Earle - Copperhead Road
Merle Haggard - I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink
Sammi Smith - Help Me Make It Through The Night
Jerry Jeff Walker - Mr. Bojangles
Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson - Good Hearted Woman

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