The Outlaw Orchestra EP Review – ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’
Manchester Rocks are delighted to be the first to get a sneaky peak of The Outlaw Orchestra’s new 3-track EP, The Devil Made Me Do It, due out for release this Spring.
Words: Anne Estella
Southampton-based quartet The Outlaw Orchestra, who have gone through something of a rebirth since their previous incarnation as Dirty Diesel Outlaw Orchestra, have announced the release of a new EP, as well as a whole host of festival appearances in 2018. The band describe their sound as “A melting pot of styles from American Southern rock, British 70’s rock, Louisiana roots to Bluegrass”.
The title of the EP is a nod to The Outlaw Orchestra’s new sponsor, Cloven Hoof, who have been instrumental in the band’s song-writing process (a little birdie told me they’ve been sending the lads lots of bottles of spiced rum to help keep their creative juices flowing!) The use of Cloven Hoof’s slogan, The Devil Made Me Do It, is intended to symbolise the collaborative relationship between the band and their sponsor - a rock n roll relationship forged in hell!
See You In Hell, the longest track on the EP, starts off with some awesome banjo playing which dominates throughout, creating a happy sound guaranteed to get you off your chair and onto the dance-floor. The song has a Rolling Stones/Black Crowes vibe and warms you up very nicely for Laughing All The Way To The Gallows - another fast-paced, high-energy track with a punkier edge that’s so damn catchy you just can’t help but sing along (preferably with Whisky in hand)! The lyrics tell of the futility of redemption. The song is a celebration of our failings and the self-realisation of our failures… And how we just don’t care.
Back To Georgia, which is expected to be the first single released off the EP, was inspired by the real-life experience of guitarist Dave, and is a lively, thigh-slappingly fun track that will have you out of your seat and swaying along from the get-go.
I challenge anyone to stay still whilst listening to this record – I’m convinced it can’t (and shouldn’t) be done - A bit like trying to eat a sugary doughnut without licking your lips. Each song melds great storytelling with foot-tapping, head-nodding grooves. The lyrics are kept light-hearted and don’t take themselves too seriously. The product is a glorious authentic Southern sound with a hard-rocking twist to boot.
The band have developed a signature “heavygrass” style which they’ve paired with organic songwriting. Their musical rollercoaster ride started to gain more and more momentum as their debut album, Dirty Diesel, caught the attention of radio stations both here and in the US, where they already have a dedicated fan-base. The EP builds on the success of their debut record, and really shows off the full range of the band’s versatility and talent.
The Outlaw Orchestra was rebranded after the departure of their former harmonica player last September, and “Dirty Diesel” was subsequently dropped from the name. In addition to their partnership with Cloven Hoof, the band has also gained the endorsement of Swedish craft beer company, Pistonhead Lager.
The band have come a long way in a short period of time since their formation in mid-2016. They played to a packed crowd at The Portsmouth Guildhall in December 2016 and last year they
played numerous shows and gigs across the South Coast and in London. They also appeared at Portsmouth's Victorious festival, Boomtown Festival and Bristol's Grillstock Festival, where they performed alongside the likes of The Darkness and Hayseed Dixie. The aim this year is to bring their unique musical blend to towns across the UK and to spread the feel-good vibe of Southern countrified “heavygrass” rock n roll goodness!
So why are a Southampton-based band playing good ol’ fashioned American Hillbilly Country rock? Well, the simple answer is because they can. And what’s more, they do it really, really well. Their love of the music oozes from every note and is highly infectious. They’ll put a smile on your face and instantly transport you to somewhere much warmer (good news for us in the UK)! This is kickass rock n roll party music that really comes alive on the big festival stages.
The UK has seen a huge growth in the popularity of Southern rock and this year we’re likely to see the scene explode. The Outlaw Orchestra are riding that trend and given that their music has already been likened to artists such as Blackberry Smoke, Rival Sons, The Cadillac Three and The Allman Brothers Band, 2018 is set to be a massive year for them.
The Outlaw Orchestra will be holding an EP pre-launch party on Saturday 20th January at The Tipsy Pig, Craft Alehouse in Romsey, near Southampton. It’ll be a free entry night and anyone who attends the event will be able to get their paws on the EP before it's official release! The night will be hosted by the band’s sponsor, Cloven Hoof Spiced Rum. Keep an eye on the band’s Facebook page for details of the EP’s release date.
Plans for 2018 also include a full-length album, a nationwide tour, a record label and appearances at some of the UK’s major festivals, including:
Icebreaker Festival - Saturday 3rd February, 9.15pm – The Wine Vaults, Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth (https://www.icebreakerfestival.com/)
Planet Rocks Winters End Festival - Sunday 25th February - Sandford Holiday Park, Poole, Dorset (https://www.planetrock.com/events/planet-rock-live/winters-end-2018/)
HRH (Hard Rock Hell) C.R.O.W.S. Festival - Saturday 8th September - The O2 Academy, Sheffield (https://www.hrhcrows.com/)
David Roux - Guitars/Lead Vocals
Ryan Smith - Drums/Percussion/Vocals
Alex Barter - Double Bass/Vocals
Stephen Welch - Banjo
1. See You In Hell
2. Laughing All The Way To The Gallows
3. Back To Georgia