Once upon a time, country music wasn’t as soft as it is today. It was like rap, with songs about breaking the law, running from the cops, chasing women, doing drugs in motel rooms lonely by yourself, and drinking whiskey like it’s Gatorade. Like hip-hop, it was distinctly anti-establishment and brazenly libertarian music. It had an edge. It was romanticized as music for outlaws.
Randy Howard was one of the pioneers of the so-called OutLaw Country music genre, alongside Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, etc. On Tuesday night the 65-year-old country star died in the most outlaw country way possible — in shootout with a bounty hunter who entered his Tennessee home on an arrest warrant. Howard — who has performed with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Charlie Daniels — skipped out on a court appearance related to charges for a fourth offense DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a gun while intoxicated and driving on a revoked license, according to WSMV.
Investigators said Howard began firing shots first and the bounty hunter returned fire. Both men were hit and Howard died inside his long-time Lynchburg home.
While many states require bondsman to have licenses, Tennessee does not.
In Howard’s case, the bounty hunter did have a warrant. But investigators said Howard was inside his home where he did have a right to defend himself.
The TBI is now investigating.
“He said he wasn’t going back to jail. That’s what he told me,” his neighbor said.
It’s going to be interesting to see if the whole “right to defend himself” since he was in his home thing will apply here. But it kind of sounds like suicide via bounty hunter, right? Crazy to hear of someone going out like that, much less a country music singer. I’m not glorifying a criminal fired shots at a man trying to bring him to justice, but the story itself is literally ripped right from the lyrics of country music folklore. He lived and died and outlaw. How often does that actually happen?
Here’s his most popular song from 1983, “All American Redneck.” RIP.
[H/T: Taste of Country]