BANNED & OUTLAWED planting their real-country roots!
OCTOBER 28, 2020
Hazelridge Manitoba's BANNED & OUTLAWED are sowing the seeds of Country Music's future.
Manitoba is a province in the dead geographic centre of Canada. That in mind, everyone still calls it Western Canada, and it doesn’t get much more western than the edge of the Canadian shield to the Rockies across this great expanse of wheat fields, dirt roads, forests, and ranches. Somewhere in this desolate dust bowl lays the final frontiers of the western world in the Northern Hemisphere where even the major civic centres reek of small town country roots. Dotted across these massive land-masses are tiny towns bustling with hard-working good-hearted folk that might have received the short end of the geographical stick: it is literally winter seven-to-nine months of the year. I don’t mean dead grass and podzol plateaus. I mean straight up walls of snow standing taller than the Toronto Raptors… but even in the depths of the Canadian wasteland we find an environment that is conducive to creativity and fueled by a driving energy to build yourself and succeed in a world that doesn’t even know you exist. Right at the heart of this energy we have a band fronted by two brothers…

Banned & Outlawed are a country band from Hazelridge Manitoba. Jon & Dan might be younger than most making a go at it in entertainment, but they sure seem to have a proper plan laid out to get to those goals they’ve set. They have been performing and packing venues in their region to the high-hundreds. They have opened for other well-known Canadian country music singers like Aaron Pritchett and performed on a number of festival stages all-the-while working on their music in the studio to get it to the fans. The brothers have a sound akin to modern Country acts which you can hear on dang-near every station, but what sets the brothers apart from the rest is their true-country undertones that, once mixed in to the fabric of the music, show a truer path to the future of the genre. And when I say the future-of-the-genre, these guys are a perfect example of it…

Even though the brothers are just breaking into their early 20s, they have already purchased a bus and have been using the better part of the past year to renovate and prepare the bus for their future plans. They have been working on original music with producers and artists such as Greg Arcade and Jon Plett. The brothers have been putting together an album which they plan to support with touring and performances as soon as the COVID-curtain lifts. While writing many of the songs themselves, they also feature several co-writes with Jason Petric, Greg Arcade, Nathan Kehler, Jon Plett, and more. The coming-album is something that sounds very exciting for a listener such as myself which finds the current crop coming out of country-music’s Mecca a bit… well I’ll just say it: I’m not excited about a lot coming out of main-stream Nashville right now, so when I hear about albums coming out of Texas, ‘Bama, Nashville’s underbelly, or even Manitoba Canada, I get excited to see what’s been cultivated and cooked up. Now you might not agree with me just yet, but despite my own personal views as the writer of this article, I really do love the response the band gave me when I asked them about the genre.

“Nothing beats the old songs, but we do love these new country songs, so many different styles and different sounds. To us Country is a way of life.” I think this approach really is the way forward for all of us. The problem I see is: you get old rounders in worn out honky-tonks refusing to see that a new generation feels something differently than they did, and instead of inviting them in to educate they push them away and demonize the genre. Sounds familiar don’t it… like what’s been happening from Hank Sr, to Dolly, and so no… but that’s not the whole issue: you’ve also got the new kids who think everything that predates their 2005 birthday is “old people music.” No. It ain’t . It’s music. The best part about it is that it’s different, and if it’s good, it’ll find a genuine audience. As Banned & Outlawed grow and put out more tunes, I know they are destined to find themselves a die-hard fan base of good folks who want to have a good time because, quite simply put, it’s good music.

This good music is available on most streaming platforms, so I’ll let you seek that out wherever you stream it, but let me remind you that in these trying times these boys need to eat break too so consider grabbing yourself a digital copy of one of their songs. It would mean the world to them and us at Wild Roots Magazine as well.

Have a wonderful week! We’ll see you next wednesday.

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