“Is ‘Turn Me Loose, White Man’ his treatise on 60 years of American music, plus a companion 30-CD boxed set? Or is it a lovingly curated recording project with the longest set of liner notes in history? Though these two volumes stand on their own, for Mr. Lowe the music and the analysis form a dialogue, an essential call and response, a set of philosophical arguments much like the commentary surrounding religious texts, ‘honed by a mixed sense of aesthetic worship and social consciousness’ that, thankfully, never grows pious.”—Larry Blumenfeld, “‘Turn Me Loose, White Man’ Review: How to Listen to American Music.” The Wall Street Journal. April 2, 2021.
At $175, from the author’s website, you might think it’s expensive. But 30 CDs and a 2 volume set sounds like an acoustical journey well worth taking. But, YMMV.
“While the locations and players change, what all these origin stories have in common is motivation: The outlaws wanted freedom. The singers wanted to sing the songs they liked, written by people like Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Billy Joe Shaver, among others. They wanted to record at independent studios like Tompall Glaser’s “Hillbilly Central,” the Nashville hub for pretty much everybody even tangentially associated with the outlaw movement. They wanted to play the dancehalls like Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, where long-haired hippies and buzzcut rednecks struck a precarious truce to enjoy some good tunes together. In short, they wanted to control their own musical destinies.”
—The Story of Outlaw Country in 33 Songs. Pitchfork. October 29, 2018.
Check it out for the playlist and album reviews.