Outlaw Country was one of the more significant trends in country music in the '70s. During that decade, many of the most popular hardcore country singers of the '60s -- from George Jones to Merle Haggard -- softened their sound slightly, moving away from their honky tonk roots. While the outlaws weren't strictly honky tonk -- they were as much storytellers in the tradition of folk songwriters as they were honky tonk vocalists -- they kept that spirit alive. Outlaws didn't play by Nashville's rules. They didn't change their music to fit the heavily produced, pop-oriented Nashville sound, nor did they go out of their way to fit into the accepted conventions of country music. Instead, they created an edgy form of hardcore country that was influenced by rock & roll, folk, and blues.