Possum Trot hits the TV screen


American Outlaw

The music video from Halfway to Hazard's "American Outlaw" single.

WINFIELD — Possum Trot U.S.A., Scott County’s western-themed attraction in the Pleasant Grove community just outside Winfield, is TV-famous.

On Thursday, country music duo Halfway to Hazard released its new music video recounting the life of one of Kentucky’s most feared outlaws of the 1800s — “Bad” Tom Smith.

The video for the song, “American Outlaw,” was filmed mostly at Possum Trot last spring. Railroad scenes were filmed in Stearns, Ky.

The song is the first single from the duo’s forthcoming album, which will be their first since taking a hiatus from recording and touring in 2009.

The duo’s Chad Warrix and David Tolliver wrote the song, along with Matt Alderman. It will serve as the theme song for a forthcoming documentary produced by Showhouse Productions about the real “Bad Tom” and his tumultuous life, including confessions for the murders of many Eversole supporters during the French-Eversole feud.

“We’ve always been intrigued by the outlaw characters of the Wild West, so this is kind of our way of delving into that intrigue in the backdrop of our home state,” Warrix said.

Born in 1859, Tom Smith lived a life of crime in eastern Kentucky and escaped prosecution for those crimes, including multiple murders, by threatening witnesses. He was eventually arrested and convicted for the murder of Dr. Robert Rader from Jackson, Ky. He was hung on June 28, 1895, for murdering Rader, marking the first and last time a hanging took place in Breathitt County, Ky.

Scenes depicting Smith’s exploits were themed at Possum Trot in a day of shooting last year. The replica Western town includes a saloon and a number of other wooden structures.

“We hada a great time filming the video and getting into our characters through costumes, bar fight scenes and gun slingin’,” Warrix said. “I think my favorite part was watching David attempt to ride a horse. We hope the music video along with the forthcoming documentary will give people a real sense of the rustic life in eastern Kentucky in the late 1800s.”

Several Scott Countians are seen in the video as extras, and a couple — including Possum Trot owner Steve Salter — served as stunt doubles. Salter, for example, is the person leaping from the roof of an exploding building.

Halfway to Hazard rose to fame after signing a record deal with Mercury Records. In 2007, they celebrated their hit single, “Daisy,” by joining Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on tour. They also toured with Jason Aldean.

The duo said their multi-year career break that began in 2009 was paved with personal struggles and convictions, causing them to nearly close the door on their dreams. But persistent coercion from supportive peers and fans pushed them to reunite in 2015.

“American Outlaw” will be available for download on iTunes in the coming weeks.

Halfway to Hazard’s 2016 Redemption Tour will take the duo to a number of locations throughout the United States between April and October. The duo will be in Nashville on April 12, June 9 and Oct. 12.

The preceding article appears in the March 24, 2016, edition of the Independent Herald. It is reprinted here with permission.

Pictured: An actor portraying “Bad Tom” Smith takes a break during filming at Possum Trot.

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