Sam Outlaw. California Troubadour.
by Tom Bomb for Country Music News International
Sam Outlaw is one of those names that pops up. He’s worked with everyone from legendary roots guitarist Ry Cooder to critically acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter Michaela Anne. He describes his music as “SoCal Country”, a mixture of classic honky-tonk and troubadour pop. He was born under the name Sam Morgan on July 28, 1982 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. At age 10 he relocated to Southern California. Despite his love for music, he pursued a career in advertising but in his early thirties made the decision to switch to performing.
Sam grew up in a conservative Christian household resulting in limitations regarding the kind of music that he was able listen to. Despite that, the influences of Asleep at the Wheel, and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys were as he has quoted in various interviews “country music in a bottle”. As he grew older and acquired more real world experience, artists like Emmylou Harris and George Jones influenced him as both a singer and a songwriter. He would start to take his craft much more seriously. He would borrow his mother’s maiden name, Outlaw, resulting in the stage name Sam Outlaw.
Despite a successful advertising career, on his thirtieth birthday he made the life-changing decision to pursue his music career.
Outlaw self-released his EP titled “Sam Outlaw” in 2014. The EP would receive attention resulting in performances at the Stagecoach Festival and AmericanaFest. CMT featured his music video for the single, “Cry For Me”. This would open doors for his soon-to-be debut album “Angeleno” resulting in working with iconic roots guitarist and producer, Ry Cooder. Cooder along with his son Joachim would co-produce and play on the album as well.
Outlaw would release the album on Six Shooter Records as its first US act. The album received much critical acclaim. He was even featured in Rolling Stone as one of the top country music artists to see at SXSW in 2015.
Outlaw’s second studio album Tenderheart was released in April of 2017. It would debut at number 3 on the UK Country Albums Chart and received two nominations from the British Country Music Association.
On May 3, 2019, Sam Outlaw made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry to much acclaim of his performance. That same night Outlaw would release an EP titled Hat Acts. In addition to his EP, Outlaw would take on his first project as a producer. Outlaw and Kelly Winrich of Delta Spirit would co-produce Desert Dove for Michaela Anne released on Yep Roc Records later that year. The album would receive critical acclaim from Rolling Stone and Stereogum as well as hitting number 37 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart.
Most recently, Sam Outlaw released his latest single “Sun Ain’t Set”. His brand new album titled “Popular Mechanics” will be released on November 12th.