Chris Cantry An Original Nashville Outlaw
Steam Magazine - South Texas Entertainment Art Music|November 2017

As a songwriter, a storyteller, and the original Nashville outlaw of the 60's, Chris Gantry has written over 1,000 songs.

Tamma Hicks & Rusty Hicks

Some of those stories were collaborations with Nashville's best including Kris Kristofferson, Mel Tillis, Shel Silverstein, and Eddie Rabbitt. Over 100 of his songs have been recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash, Reba Mcentire, KD Lang, Robert Goulet, Wayne Newton and others.

Gantry penned the American classic, “Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife” by Glen Campbell, which won three BMI honors including the Millionaire's Award for over two million performances. Gantry has written for Sony Music, Warner/Chapell Music, Faverett Music Group.

In addition to songwriting, Chris is a prolific writer of prose, novels, and poetry. He won the Tennessee Williams Playwriting Contest with a collection of one-act plays entitled Teeth and Nails. His autobiography, “Gypsy Dreamers In The Alley,” explores his life in the Nashville music business from his arrival to modern day.

Who or what made you decide to write a book?

My publicist suggested that I write this book because it has been written and said that when I came to Nashville in 1963 I brought the seed that eventually started the outlaw movement here. I never really understood it, never really thought about it that way; however, I do remember that when I came here there was only me and Billy Swan, but there was a Counter Culture in Nashville. And The Counter Culture in Nashville was aware

there was a revolution going on in the country. And the old guard of country music was just hanging on by a thread. You know the Grand Ole Opry stars. They were still having their hits but not like they were because the Beatles had come, Bob Dylan had come, and that whole movement. So, I have been credited with bringing that seed to this town. I began hanging out with the Counter Culture in Nashville and I kept one foot in the music business world. And I started to incorporate those kinds of lyrics, because there was no one here that was really doing that. And that's how I started.

What I think is interesting is that when you look at how music genres fluctuate and change you can see the highs and the lows, but you rarely get to see what or who pushes those changes and apparently you are a reason as to why Country music came back up.

I wouldn't say full credit.

No, but I would say that you were able to influence enough of the right people to push them forward and put that fluctuation in motion.

Well, it is interesting now that I think about it. What I did was start getting those songs recorded and that's what made the difference. People started taking chances on guys like me, who wrote songs like I do did. And that had never happened before because at that time there weren't singer-songwriters in Nashville. You were either a writer or you were a performer and the performers got their songs from the writers. You weren't doing your own stuff, but that's what I did. And the people that came shortly after me are the ones that did that; like Eddie Rabbitt, Vince Matthews, and John Hartford, who wrote the world’s greatest country song “Gentle on my mind.” Kris Kristofferson came at the end of 1964 and then it all started as we found each other. It was very much like Paris in the 1800's with the Impressionistic movement.

So everyone with this like-mindedness was congregating?

Exactly. We were hanging out in the alleys, hanging out in the streets. People were excited when we saw each other and heard what we were working on. And back then there was no co-writing; you wrote your own material. So, everybody would just get ideas from each other. And go back to our spaces and try to top what you'd heard from them. We were inspiring to each other.

Sounds like a cool time to be part of. Tell me your helicopter story. It was at Woodstock, right?

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