RIP: Hughie Thomasson

Hughie Thomasson, 55, founding member, lead guitarist, vocalist and song writer for the country-rock band “The Outlaws”, died of a heart attack on September 9th, 2007.

It took two and a half months for this news to show up on my radar. There was not a peep from any of the news or entertainment outlets that I peruse. The Times UK has a nice piece on him. Even this obit did not show up for nearly a month after his passing. The lack of news is nearly as sad as the untimely death of such a great musician. Hollywood effluvia and sporting world narcissists have so thoroughly commandeered the entertainment reporting, and even serious news reporting, in this nation that I am appalled. I was so angry in fact that it took until a road trip to Pittsburgh yesterday to get my heart back on track.

In a rare occurrence, a classic rock radio station played the full length version of “Green Grass and High Tides”. Just hearing the music again made my heart soar.

I was lucky enough to see The Outlaws in Columbus back in the 1980’s. It wasn’t their best performance. The venue was small. At least one band member was stumbling drunk. It was during their lean years after “southern rock” lost its initial popularity. My friends and I were able to talk some of the band members after the show. It was so cool. Thomasson, Henry Paul and Billy Jones are my guitar heroes. They way they could weave notes and swap the lead guitar riffs was absolutely amazing to me.

I was hoping to see them this past summer when they played at St. Clairsville, OH in July, but was unable to spare the time. Another one of my life’s regrets…

I am not ashamed to admit that I am crying as I write this. This music helped me find who I am. It helped me see joy in the lonelyness and sadness I had surrounded myself with. It sparked the resurgence of my desire to sing, and to participate in this world instead of just floating along for the ride. And singing lead to my meeting and eventually to marrying the love of my life. It lead to my wonderful sons, and my amazing grandson. If you have never listened to The Outlaws, find a copy of “Green Grass and High Tides” (here, then click on launch jukebox), close your eyes and let it sweep you away. If my words have not convinced you, then perhaps Hughie’s will. These are his lyrics from the final verse of “Green Grass and High Tides”:

Those who don’t believe me
Find your souls and set them free.
Those who do, believe and love
As time will be your key.
Time and time again I’ve thanked them
For a peace of mind;
They helped me find myself
Amongst the music and the rhyme
That enchants you there.

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4 Responses

  1. Damn.

    Damn. Damn. Damn.

  2. Yeah, Damn.

  3. I was deeply saddened by Hughie’s death. I was a huge Outlaws fan from the beginning. I have also been deeply disappointed about the death of Billie Jones. No one seems to have cared about Billie. Without him, there would have been no Outlaws, at least not what we remember them as. I can’t find one article on Billie Jones’ death. He was every bit as good as Hughie.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Greg.

    Yeah, when I did this post, I looked and could not find much on Billy Jones or Frank O’Keefe. Wiki says Frank overdosed and Billy took his own life. Both died within weeks of each other.

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