From Arena-Rock Fame to the Deep Blues

inArtist Storyon June 8, 2021

Harvey Dalton Arnold first gained the music world’s attention in a huge, arena-sized way: He was a member of The Outlaws, one of the giant wave of 1970s Southern rock bands that rose in the wake of the Allman Brothers and wound up charting big hits and filling giant venues all over the nation.

Harvey’s rise to stadium gigs happened quickly. As a teenager, he was playing bass for a band in Florida when he got an offer to audition for The Outlaws on a Saturday night. By the following Saturday, he played his first stadium gig when The Outlaws opened for Johnny Winter and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Like so many members of those bands, Harvey had a tight connection to the blues, first picking it up from an African American man who worked on his father’s farm in rural North Carolina.

“I was raised in the American South in the 1950s and ’60s in a time of racial segregation and little tolerance for change or individuality,” Harvey says. “When my father invited a Black farm hand to play blues piano in our living room one afternoon, that forever had an impact on me.”

Today, Harvey, who lives in Burlington, North Carolina, not only is still playing his slamming electric blues and rock and roll, but also is turning out some great acoustic work. You can expect a rocking good time in his upcoming performance as part of Music Maker’s virtual Freight Train Blues series. Harvey’s two albums on the Music Maker label — 2014’s “Outlaw” and 2020’s “Stories to Live Up To” — both prove that the spirit of the blues can take up residence in the soul of anybody who has a deep connection to the culture the blues arose from.


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