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Various Artists

Outlaw Country! Live from Austin, TX – 2006 (New West)

Reviewed by Brett Leigh Dicks

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"Can't Beat Jesus Christ" -- complete with twanging acoustic accompaniment from son Eddy -- the musical spotlight swings upon Willie Nelson. With a strum of his guitar, Nelson turns to Shaver and muses "I'm trying to figure out what I can follow that one with -- I ruled out 'Whiskey River' right off" before launching into a lenient version of his "loop hole song" 'Too Sick Too Pray.' Such is the atmosphere that flavors the Outlaw Country installment of New West's Live From Austin TX" series. It is one bristling with charisma where personality is as consuming and enriching as the music.

In bringing together the likes of Billy Joe Shaver, Willy Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Kimmie Rhodes and putting them in the round, this performance was always destined to be a display of country servitude. But just as captivating as the personalities behind them are the songs and the performances that drive them. For evidence of this one needs look no further than Jenning's pristine offering of "I Do Believe" or Kimmie Rhodes' enchanting "Espiritu Santo Bay."

Sure, the lawlessness might have been reined in a little over the years, but these musical bandits are just as unruly as ever here. And their songs flow just as freely and passionately.