Sam Outlaw is a proud ambassador of California country. The Los Angeles-based singer's critically acclaimed 2015 album, Angeleno, is a rich blend of the Bakersfield sound made famous by Merle Haggard and Buck Owens and the breezy SoCal country-rock of The Flying Burrito Brothers. But for the fourth installment of Bruce Robison's web series The Next Waltz, Outlaw put a brand new spin on his own unique sound.
Outlaw dropped by Robison's Lockhart, Texas studio to re-record "Kind to Me" from his 2014 self-titled debut album. "Kind to Me" tells a familiar tale of barroom rejection and the heartache and humiliation that goes along with it.
In an interview with Robison (featured below), Outlaw said the song is a crowd favorite, especially among the dancers. "The two-steppers, if they weren't two-stepping before, they come out and start dancing," says Outlaw.
Outlaw also discussed his country music inspirations. He credits his father's love for western swing band Asleep at the Wheel with providing "the soil" for his eventual love for the genre. But the true turning point came about in his early 20s when he caught a clip of George Jones and Emmylou Harris singing together. "It blew up my brain...something in that moment made me go 'What is this? This is the best music ever.'"
Outlaw says Jones' song "Right Left Hand," is a prime example of classic country's simultaneous humor, sadness and honesty, a theme that runs throughout his own music.
On Sept. 16 and 17, Sam Outlaw will open two shows for Kacey Musgraves at The Fillmore in San Francisco. He's also one of over 200 artists scheduled to perform during the 2017 Americana Music Fest. The event will be held in downtown Nashville, Tenn. from Sept. 20 through Sept. 25.
Past episodes of The Next Waltz have featured Jerry Jeff Walker, Kelly Willis and The Turnpike Troubadours. Rodney Crowell and Jack Ingram are slated to appear in upcoming installments.