Album review: THE OUTLAW ORCHESTRA – Pantomime Villains

THE OUTLAW ORCHESTRA – Pantomime Villains

Voodoo Queen Records [Release date 29.05.20]

Hot on the tail of the southern rock/country flavoured EP from the Bootyard Bandits comes another UK based band, the Outlaw Orchestra, who play what they term ‘heavy grass’. The Outlaw Orchestra formed in mid-2016. The Orchestra brings together David Roux (guitars/lead vocals); Ryan Smith (drums/percussion/vocals); Pete Briley (banjo/lap steel/vocals); and Alex Barter (double bass/vocals). The Outlaw Orchestra do indeed hail from the Deep South – Southampton, UK.

The band’s name derives from two things that matter big time to the band; accomplished musicianship brings the ‘Orchestra’, whilst their deep-set taste for irreverence, not playing by the rules, rebel hearts and sheer energy bring in the ‘Outlaw’ contingent.

The good thing about the Outlaw Orchestra is that they mix it up, so one minute you are in frantic banjo/bluegrass country on ‘Hanging Tree’, and then it is a bit of rock ‘n’ roll mixed with southern rock dual guitars on ‘Jumpin’ Jive’.

They don’t take themselves too seriously lyrically as can be heard on ‘Chicken Fried Snake’ (surely the only southern rock flavoured tune to mention fish and chips?!) and ‘Too Much Willie Nelson’. The latter has some great one liners in it, making it one of the (many) album highlights.

If you are in need of a musical pick me up in these strange times the Outlaw Orchestra will do just that, putting a smile on your face and a skip in your stride. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

David Roux provided an update on the band and their future plans as at August 2020…

What made a group of musicians from Southampton come up with the southern rock tinged Outlaw Orchestra?

I was born to the Rolling Stones, Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers etc and so it was ingrained (inbred?). I met Ryan at a gig I was playing with my band Hazzard County, he offered his services if we ever needed a drummer. I called him within the week and he became our second drummer then finally our main drummer playing all manner of country and southern rock.

I had a sideline thing going, similar music with traditional country instruments (just for fun) Ryan joined us permanently. From those musicians we settled on four of us. Hazzard County fizzled as the new band wrote several songs and started to play cafes and pubs.

Ryan doesn’t hold back, he aimed straight for Planet Rock Winters End festival and got us a slot as a wildcard. We went from half empty pubs with eight songs to 2000 Planet Rock fans, we took our fun jam to the masses and struck gold. We had 300 EPs we’d made and sold the lot, the queue at Planet rock was around the building, we met everyone. We were blown away, shocked and humbled. It seems that good time vibes and rock’n'roll still works.

Have you been pleased with the reaction to the album ‘Pantomime Villains’?’

We have felt the same incredible response to PV as we did playing at Planet Rocks Winters End, so much love and appreciation, so many outstanding reviews. These songs have found their own feet and it is incredible to travel for hours and play to new audiences and to see them singing the songs with you.

What have been the band’s live highlights to date and who would you ideally love to tour with & why?

Aside from the above, outstanding moments have been playing stages with bands that are in our own record collections and finding out that these bands know who we are and dig our groove. Hearing ourselves on the radio and major stations such as Planet Rock, Chris Country as well as Macs Roadhouse radio, Nashville. Not forgetting playing at Ramblin Man to an enormous loving audience. Best of all meeting every person who waits to chat with us, we have made so many friends its humbling how people travel to see us and tell us their stories of seeing us and what each song means to them, its a grounding position to be in.

How did the band come up with such great songs & lyrics as ‘Too More Willie Nelson’ and ‘Chicken Fried Snake’?

Too Much Willie Nelson is like all our songs, a true story, nothing is made up, embellished yes but all have a true foundation. I had the chance to play with Willie Nelson’s band at a hippie jam in Maui. Gifted with a mountain of Willie’s homegrown we were jamming (badly) and a hippie chick said “Guys, you’ve smoked too much Willie Nelson….not enough Johnny Cash”. When I was in Louisiana I misheard a waitress when I asked what they had on the menu in a juke joint, she said “Chicken fried Steak” I thought she said “Snake” and didn’t doubt it, nonetheless I wrote the words down before I forgot it.

When do you think gigs will resume, as in a regular amount for people to attend each week, albeit socially distanced etc.

Gigs have resumed for us, social distanced and adhering to council stipulations. We’ll just have to toughen up to cold weather and have more outdoor jams with fire-pits and enjoy nature, it’ll be awesome.

Leading on from that, how do you think the live scene will be once it returns?

Hopefully as outlined above, more events in nature in fields, oil drum fire pits, layer up and jam under the stars.

Do you think we will see maybe less US and European bands touring for the foreseeable future, especially on the festival circuit/one-off shows, and in turn, perhaps UK acts will tour more?

We are always happy to travel to play. We have to eliminate risk so less touring internationally but whatever we can do link with our musical brothers and sisters safely.

How can people connect with the Outlaw Orchestra?

Come and check in at the Brotherhood and the official Facebook page

Not forgetting the website:

We are always on hand to chat and respond

Message for your fans…

Thank you for sticking with us, for digging what we do, for coming out and seeing us online and live and for buying our music, we cannot wait to hook up with each and every one of you again soon.

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 1 August 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week and an interview with “metal queen” Lee Aaron.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 7 September 2021.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.
You can Listen Again to shows via the presenter pages at

Featured Albums w/c 6 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)

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Power Plays w/c 20 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)

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