John Paul Hodge’s outlaw country has an uncanny soul and a genuine feel. Part Cherokee and all troubadour with a raspy, low voice and spitfire lyrics, it feels as if you’re listening to a lost king of country music. Born and raised in Northern California, Hodge says he doesn’t feel like a Western artist. As a self-taught musician, he’s followed his heart through many genres in search of what satisfies him the most. From rap to metal to reggae, screaming and smoking has brought out this version of Hodge. A heavy dose of blood, sweat and tears went into the making of his latest recording, Outlaw Bits, released in 2019 and produced over a span of eight years. He and his band channeled the vibes of Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, and it finally came together. The result is a collection of barroom romance, political belligerence and soulful heartache, sprinkled with a small dose of activism.