“Outlaw Country” - the term brings to mind images
of Willie, Waylon, Merle and David Allan Coe. But to folks around Cincinnati,
Ohio, outlaw country means Dallas Moore and his band, The Snatch Wranglers.
Dallas has created quite a stir among music lovers who long for the
days when country music was sent reeling from the heathen sounds of
rock guitars intruding on the layers of strings and fiddles so common
to the Nashville Sound of the sixties and early seventies. As the original
outlaws began to fade into the sunset, where was the genre going to
find it’s new heros ? Dallas Moore stepped up and filled their shoes.
With four CD’s to his credit (two studio CD’s, one live CD, and one
mostly acoustic CD), Dallas and the Snatch Wranglers have brought back
the foot-stompin’, sweat-slingin’, on-the-edge feel of true outlaw country.
No more carefully groomed, corporate “white hat” country...it’s time
to get wild !
Dallas Moore is the picture of an outlaw. Dressed in black, hair hanging
down nearly to his waist, cowboy hat firmly planted on top, the image
is definitely there. But beyond all that is a songwriter and musician
who is much more than he appears. His latest studio CD, entitled “High
On The Hog”, is a mixture of honky tonk, country, and Southern-style
rock. There’s the tongue-in-cheek “Daddy Went To The Store For Cigarettes
(And Never Came Back)” and “Great Big Woman (And A Little Bitty Bottle
Of Wine)”, the country blues of “Perfume, Powder And Lead”, and Southern
rockers like “Lookin’ Out For You” and “Sleazy Motel”. And just when
you think this guy’s all black leather and smoky barrooms, he hits you
right in the gut with the heart-felt love song “Now More Than Ever”...
talk about goose-pimples !
Dallas took time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions for
SouthBound Beat. Here’s Dallas...in his own words...
Hey Brother, thanks for taking a minute to give us a little insight
into the mind of the Head Snatch Wrangler !
Glad to! I just got in from our show in Cincinnati...it’s 4:30 a.m.
and I’m a little liquored up, so I’m liable to ramble on...
No problem...been there, done that ! OK, here’s the usual one : Tell
us a little bit about yourself and the band...
Me and my current lineup of brothers have been jammin’ together for
a little over 3 and a half years. I was originally playing solo, just
me and a guitar when we made our first two CD’s. Bob Rutherford played
bass and produced the first 2 CD’s and assembled the crew that would
eventually become our permanent band. The first CD we did as a full
band was “Live - Back At The Saddle”and featured Bob on bass, Chuck
Morpurgo on lead guitar, Randy Peak on guitar and blues harp, Steve
Holmes on drums, and me on vocals and guitar. Then I wanted to do an
acoustic CD of some of the story songs I’d written called “Untold Stories”
and kept the lineup the same except for bringin’ in Bobby Lee on drums.
Randy Peak eventually left the band to pursue his career with his wife,
Miss Heather, and our great friends from Indiana, Biggun and the Renegades.
The latest CD, “High On The Hog” is the first one with us as a four
piece band. Bob Rutherford and I produced it...Bob’s produced several
different acts, but it was my first time. Kind of a long answer, but
it brings everybody up to date with what’s goin’ on.
Have you always been an outlaw country / southern rocker, or did
you have other musical influences ?
I guess I’ve always been considered an “outlaw country’ musician because
that’s the music I started off playing and what I liked as a listener/fan
growing up. That’s my roots and that’s what I am today. What a lot of
folks don’t know is that I went to college on a classical guitar scholarship
at the University of Northern Kentucky. I got to take part in lots of
music I would not have ever had the chance to play, including solo and
quartet concerts in the classical genre. What I really got into was
playing in the Jazz Big Band. It showed me that what guys like Benny
Goodman and Charlie Christian were playing wasn’t that much different
from Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. You could take some of those
licks and play ‘em in a Haggard tune ! I’ve also been influenced by
bluegrass, Appalachian and gospel from my Mom, who plays dulcimer, banjo,
and guitar in the group Sunset Dawn. She also played on the Midwestern
Hayride and recorded some 78's back in the fifties. Mom always had great
Southern music with large doses of Hank, Sr. playin’ around the house
when I was a kid.
You’ve got a unique vocal style. Who are your vocal influences ?
Well...as far as my vocal style, I basically think I can’t sing real
good. I’d like to sound like Waylon Jennings, Gregg Allman, Danny Joe
Brown, Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe, Ronnie Van Zant, or Billy Joe
Shaver. Most of that sounds more like a songwriter list than a vocalist
list, but the most important thing to me is delivering the song and
making you feel it and believe it. That’s what all of those guys did.
You’ve opened shows for a bunch of first class outlaw country role
models like David Allan Coe, Merle Haggard, etc, etc. Who are your personal
favorites ? Any good stories (keeping in mind the statute of limitations)
We HAVE been very fortunate to open for many of our heros. I reckon
it ain’t fair to have a favorite, but if I did, it would be Willie Nelson.
I learned so much about life just being around him. He wasn’t surrounded
by an entourage of security and each time, he just walked up and said,
“Hi, I’m Willie Nelson” like it was no big deal. He was not only glad
to meet you, but had time to talk and always offered great advice and
words of encouragement. The same can be said about everyone in his band,
crew and organization. There’s a reason why it’s called “Willie Nelson
and FAMILY”...that’s what I strive for in my own bunch of gypsies that
roll down the road with me.
Speaking of David Allan Coe... he’s a unique individual, to say the
least. Did touring with him give you any insights on how to make it
in the industry ? Did his attitude (which I truly admire, by the way)
of doing things his own way influence you ?
Well, David Allan Coe has never been anything but great to me. I’ll
never forget the first time we opened for him and he walked out and
sang “Can’t You See” with me. I have a picture on my wall of that moment.
It’s one of the greatest memories of all time ! We’ve since went on
to tour about 20-30 dates a year with DAC and have sung together several
times. Even when we don’t get to jam together, it’s great to sit on
the side of the stage and watch him do his thing. I have NEVER seen
anyone who can totally control a crowd the way he does. He’s probably
the most under-rated songwriter, singer, and entertainer around. At
the same time, he has handled being labeled “underground”, “outlaw”...whatever
you want to call him, and has maintained a great recording and touring
career well into his sixties. He’s done things his way and still managed
to get his music out to the people. That’s been a BIG influence on me.
We’ve used the term “outlaw Country” a lot. What’s your definition
of it ? Do you see yourself staying true to the “Willie, Waylon, Merle”
type or do you see yourself mixing in other types of music (like the
recent DAC / Kid Rock collaborations) ? Do you think that’s the way
to get the “outlaw” music out to the masses ?
We do get described as “outlaw country’” the most...I reckon that’s
what we are. We obviously have the influence, but at the same time,
we’re trying to do the songs I write and the songs we choose to cover
in our own style. I think the DAC/Kid Rock/Hank. Jr collaborations are
great ! The “outlaw movement” was and still is about freedom to record
your music your own way. Many of the walls that were kicked down by
Willie, Waylon, DAC, Johnny Cash, etc, are back up and steel-reinforced
today. It makes guys like us go without the promotional luxuries of
videos, radio airplay, etc...BUT, there are still a lot of folks who
are dedicated to our music and our lifestyle. That allows us to be fortunate
enough to be rollin’ down the road for 280 dates a year. It really doesn’t
matter which song we play on any given night...it’s more about WHO WE
ARE and WHAT WE DO ! If it makes it to “the masses” someday again, that’s
fuckin’ COOL...if it doesn’t, we’ll still be honky tonkin’ for any ol’
dinosaurs out there !!!
I hear you, Brother Dallas ! Thanks for your time...and keep it between
the ditches !
You bet...y’all don’t forget to come see us. The show schedule’s on
the web site at www.dallasmoore.com See y’all down the road !