Rock-and-rolling down a long road with The Outlaws

The Outlaws talk about their latest album "Dixie Highway."

The Outlaws talk about their latest album "Dixie Highway."

John Gellman / Contributed photo

The Outlaws have been guitar heros long before that was a thing. For over 40 years, the band has been a major part of Southern rock, nicknamed the “Florida Guitar Army” for its triple-lead guitar attack. Known for hits like “There Goes Another Love Song” and “Green Grass and High Tides,” the band is devoted to its craft, marrying masterful lyrics with crisp harmonies and solid musicianship. Its latest album, “Dixie Highway” continues the band’s legacy surveying its past triumphs and tragedies but firmly looking to the future. While the band’s April concert at Fairfield Theatre Company has been postponed to Oct. 8, fans can enjoy the new album. Henry Paul from the band spoke with Andrea Valluzzo about the new album.

Andrea Valluzzo: Tell us about the new album.

Henry Paul: We worked really hard writing and recording this record, the songs are phenomenal and Outlaws fans will embrace this new record.

AV: What was your goal for the sound here?

HP: We released our last record back in 2012, “It’s About Pride.” My goal with that record was basically the same as my goal with this one and that was to stay within The Outlaws’ musical personality and the personality that I helped create with the original members of the band. I like to remain true to the first three records stylistically and write and record what I think from an arrangement standpoint what is true to The Outlaws’ musical legacy. Lyrically, the storylines and the subject matter of these songs are very steeped both in the past and the future so people get a distinct inside look of where we come from and where we are going. It’s not all about the band’s past and it’s not all about the band’s future, really it’s about right here and now. I think if you wanted to summarize the band’s position at this time, it would be that we are extremely tight and at the top of our game.

AV: Is “Dixie Highway” a metaphor for the band?

HP: Exactly! And if you listen to words in the song “There’s a road that runs before me, it’s twisted and it’s turned with miles of open highway and bridges that we burned with rowdy reputations, learning lessons of the heart/ a recent revelation I found a place to start on Dixie Highway.” In a very optimistic way, it takes you on a journey down the path of our career and I think the last verse: “The road goes on forever but we are on it until the end because we believe that our salvation is just around the bend.” When I saw the road sign and got the idea for writing this song, it was always a metaphor in my mind that it would be written sort of as an autobiography.

AV: Being in the arts and in your own head much of the time can be a bit lonely.

HP: The path that you have to go down, it’s not a primrose path. It’s a very solitary, lonely and sometimes scary sort of place so in the song when you go “Dixie Highway, can you hear me? Sometimes we ride alone.” The artistic endeavor is a very solitary endeavor, it’s a very introspective and self-created life. It looks good from the outside but from the inside it’s a high-risk endeavor and there is no real net.

AV: Do you remember what it was like when you first heard “Green Grass and High Tides” on the radio?

HP: Yes, and I remember, probably more importantly from an impression standpoint, getting a test pressing of the album in the mail from our producer and calling up the guys in the band and going over to the local stereo shop up in Tampa, where they had these really exotic, high-end, fancy stereos. And as a band going into a private room and listening to it and just looking at one another like ‘Holy crap, this is really, really good!’ You go from being a bar band to being a recording artist under the guidance of a producer, in this case like Paul Rothchild, who was a world-famous, musically-gifted producer with a track record unlike anyone else’s and he took us into the studio and helped us to become professionals and it was remarkable to hear for the first time on record.

AV: Sounds surreal.

HP: If you can look at moments like dreams come true and realize in the moment that you did what you set out to do, then that was one of them for sure.