(Los Angeles, CA)
Four years ago, a successful young Los Angeles ad-man named Sam Morgan threw himself a splashy showoff 30th birthday party with an open bar in hip, boutiquey Silver Lake. The next day, it wasn’t just a hangover he was nursing: it was the realization that he was meant for another life. Morgan threw it all away — his lucrative career, his flashy lifestyle, even his name. He adopted his mother’s maiden name of Outlaw and gambled everything on what he loved best: country music. But instead of taking the obvious road — moving to Nashville and slotting his considerable talents into current trends — he stayed in LA, channeling the rich but less well-known history of Southern California country, from Bakersfield to Laurel Canyon. The gamble paid off; Outlaw has proven himself more than worthy of the tradition. Smooth and soulful, by turns Latin-tinged and honky-tonking, his songwriting has been called beyond great by Ryan Adams and an instant classic by NPR. The father-son team of Ry and Joachim Cooder produced and played on his debut album. Outlaw’s laid-back, sometimes melancholy tunes recall great California artists from the past five decades while dodging any whiff of pastiche or nostalgia. Whatever the trade-offs might be, he wakes up each morning knowing he’s doing what he’s supposed to: making damn fine music.