UPDATE: Y'all, I haven’t died. I’ve just been buried with work. I pretty seriously underestimated how hard it is to start up a new show. Three months ago, I was all confidently telling Emily that I could still submit 1 or 2 posts a week while I was working. Instead, I come home every night and fall asleep in my clothes while burning dinner. I've written a total of 2 posts in that 3 months! I can't believe I ever thought I could juggle it all.
There are just too damn many people to please on a TV show, and an insane amount of differing opinions that I must somehow take in and converge into one clear direction. (Everyone is an expert on wardrobe, don’t ya know? They put their own pants on every morning, DUH, maybe we should let THEM be the costume designer.) It’s comical, actually -- I am sometimes on a 14-person email chain about one. Single. Shirt.
My day job has kept me from you guys, and I missed you! So, I’ve forced myself to wake up at 5am before my 7am call time all week to write this post in measly 100 word chunks.
No topic I rolled around in my mind seemed able to push me out of my warm bed at that loathsome hour until I found this very special t-shirt line called Midnight Rider. I am pretty snobby about my t-shirts, and these do not disappoint. Midnight Rider is in cahoots with Shooter Jennings, son of the legendary Waylon Jennings, and together they have produced an exquisite line of vintage-esque tees inspired by the man himself, the original outlaw, Waylon.
Waylon Jennings was born in Littlefield, Texas in 1937, and helped the “Outlaw Country” movement gain ground at a time when almost all Nashville musicians were formulaic, clean cut sound-alikes that exclusively wore sparkly Nudie suits. Waylon, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Jerry Jeff Walker grew their hair long, wore tons of denim and leather, and sang about drinking, drugs, and working class heroes.
Until I started writing this, I had totally forgotten that Waylon was Buddy Holly’s bass player at age 22, and gave up his seat on the “Day the Music Died” plane that crashed, killing Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper in 1959.
You kittens may remember Waylon as the narrator of the world’s best television show, The Dukes of Hazzard. (He also wrote and performed the theme song.) My brother and I recorded "Good Ol' Boys" OFF THE TELEVISON on our personal home tape recorder to sing along with in the car later. BEFORE ITUNES. THE HORROR!
This post is supposed to be about some bad mother #*$%ing Waylon Jennings t-shirts, not an Outlaw Country history lesson, so I'll get to it. Behold:
The Midnight Rider women's muscle tees are my very favorite style on earth. I go to great lengths in my personal life to cut the arms out of all my vintage tees just so. I can't ever get it as perfect as they do.
However, shirts cut like this beg the question of what to wear underneath. I am a big fan of the visible bra, something that makes my mother cringe with horror any time she sees it. I love how it's innocent and aggressive all at once. If I am wearing one of my muscle cut tees to work, I always layer a proper black tank underneath, but if I am going out at night or to a rock show, I dig into my collection of beautiful bras that are meant to be seen. My favorite ones are made by Only Hearts, and are all "Itty-Bitty-Titty-Committee" approved by yours truly:
Midnight Rider's t-shirts are worth the bucks for quite a few reasons. All the artwork is original and drawn by an artist's hand. They manufacture their own blank tees right here in Los Angeles, and it shows. The fits and styles (the "boyfriend" cut in particular) are superior to any other t-shirt by far, and they start out their lives as soft and comfy as a shirt you've owned for 20 years.
Those of you who have written me for advice on how to age brand new t-shirts so they feel old as the hills will love this line. (Tri-Sodium Phosphate powder and a hot water wash/soak is my go-to recipe for making t-shirts instant vintage, for the record.)
Real, actual vintage Waylon Jennings tees (from the 70's and 80's) start at around $150.00 on eBay! (I know, as I’ve bought them for band boys as birthday presents before. Yeah, I have a ‘”type.”) If I had it to do all over again, I'd save my pennies and just buy those dumb boys some of these:
Look for Midnight Rider to introduce all sorts of new tees from classic country names in the near future. (Insider secret: one of them is the legendary Townes Van Zandt!) A great primer on the roots of outlaw/folk country and Townes in particular is the documentary film Heartworn Highways. It also features a baby-faced Steve Earle, who idolized Townes as a teenager. Townes will break your heart in this film.
Midnight Rider’s sister site, Blood is the New Black, is also chock full of radical custom tees -- like this one that I of course snagged for myself before they sold out:
I'll see ya when I see ya, babes. XO.
Follow Midnight Rider on Twitter: @MidnightRiderMK.
I'm also on Twitter once in a blue moon: @IveyAlison.