Sam Outlaw describes his musical style as ‘SoCal Country’, a mix of classic honky-tonk and troubadour pop with a southern California vibe.
Born Sam Morgan in South Dakota, he moved with his family to southern California when he was 10. The family imposed significant control over his musical choices but Outlaw found things to his liking from Asleep at the Wheel and the Beatles along with classic country artists like George Jones. His stage name Outlaw is his mother’s maiden name, which he uses as a tribute to her.
A successful career in advertising left music as a pastime that Outlaw pursued via a country band, but at 30 Outlaw dropped out of advertising to focus on music.
Sam Outlaw collected an all star cast of southern California musicians for his first album Angeleno and the legendary Ry Cooder produced it.The record produced a buzz around Outlaw, with Rolling Stone declaring him one of the emerging artists to see at SXSW in 2015.
His follow up album Tenderheart debuted in the top 5 on the UK country chart, where he also earned award nominations from the UK Country Music Association. Since then Outlaw has evolved his sound to include more of the sounds that influenced him in his youth. Commenting on his decision to go all in on the updated sound, Outlaw says “I put aside questions of what would this do to my career or my fanbase, and instead, I said, I’m going to be the one up on stage playing these songs, so I need to find what makes me excited,” he says. “If I’m bored, the audience will be bored.”