Everyday Outlaw doesn’t play tractor rap.
With Jim Park’s twangy pedal steel guitar, Morgan Hargrave’s crisp Telecaster licks, Mark Henasey/Rory Koff’s railroading rhythm section and Jake Zender’s baritone vocals, the Truckee band plays authentic country.
Everyday Outlaw has a radio hit, “This Ain’t No Love Song,” a show on Friday at Reno’s Off Beat Music Festival and is a Forte Awards nominee for Best Country Band.
The Forte Awards are Thursday night at Reno’s Grand Sierra Resort. “We’re going to put on some fancy clothes and go down there and try to horse a trophy,” Zender said.
Like a watered down whiskey drink, country music that gets radio play has become a weaker version of itself. Call it Southern pop or tractor rap or maybe just change the dial. Everyday Outlaw give country lovers a reason to tune back in.
“These days there’s been a big push back on that tractor rap,” Zender said. “Cody Jinks, Whitey Morgan and Sturgill Simpson are getting more radio play than what you’d hear 10 years ago. What we play loosely fits in the standard Western swing, honky-tonk lineup.”
The band was formed a year and a half ago. Zender owns Split Rock Music, a music store, school, promotional company and rehearsal studio in Truckee, an expensive place to live, but it’s also a great location for a band. Everyday Outlaw has recorded a couple of videos at Dark Horse Coffee Roasters and it has an upcoming show at the new Alibi Ale Works Truckee Public House.
“Alibi has a nice sound system and a great stage,” Zender said. “There are four or five places where you can see live music on the weekend, which is pretty cool for a town of this size.
“It’s a convenient place to live,” he said. “We can dive off the hill on either side and play in totally different markets. Sacramento, Nevada City, Chico, Grass Valley are within an hour-and-a-half, and on the other side there’s Reno, Lee Vining, Bishop and other places.”
A native of Davis, California, Zender grew up a country music fan, although he said he had a psychedelic period when he was in his late teens and early 20s. He has been singing since he was a boy, but it took him a while to find his voice.
“Back then, if you sing a Tom Petty song, you sing like Tom Petty, sing a Pink Floyd song you sing like David Gilmore,” he said. “As far as country goes, when you sing a George Jones you sing a nasally George Jones. It took a while before I found my sound. I’ve obviously drawn from George Jones and Merle Haggard and all the greats.”
Each band member has children and Zender’s wife is expecting in March. Instead of touring, Everyday Outlaw performs in markets where it has received air play.
“You can build name through digital radio and social media and target areas where people already know us,” he said. “We’re not going to be living in a van. We all have too much going on in our lives. I think our ladies would kill us all if we did that.”