According to lore, former President Jimmy Carter once invited Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson to the White House while they were making a stop in D.C. And while Nelson obliged, he left Waylon behind—reportedly because the artist was too high to meet with the president. Perhaps the real mystery in this story, recounted by author Michael Streissguth in his new history, Outlaw, is how Nelson wound up the sober guy. The book recounts the tales of Jennings, Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson—the country-music legends who, with Johnny Cash, would go on to form The Highwaymen and foment an alternative to the Nashville formula. Today, that bloodline is nearly spent: Few artists even pretend to carry on the noble tradition of the desperado, and even fewer are worthy of it. But the outlaws’ songs and stories still ring out amid the increasingly corporate, pandering, and condescending landscape of today’s country music. Michael Streissguth discusses his book at 3 p.m. at Joe’s Record Paradise, 8216 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. Free. (301) 585-3269. joesrecordparadise.com.