Sophomore album filters neo-traditional influence through Outlaw’s ‘SoCAL Country’ lens. Expansive North American tour includes stops in Toronto and Vancouver.
WATCH THE ALBUM TRAILER NOW.
Cynicism comes easy, but having a soft heart takes real guts. With his new album, Tenderheart, Sam Outlaw dares to tread gently, and looks inward with unapologetic sentiment and un-ironic nods to the genre’s greatest neon rainbow chasers.
With this second album, Outlaw – one of LA’s only modern country artists – shows an impressive refinement of his artistic identity. Sonically, the album further elaborates Outlaw’s “SoCal Country” sound, a sun-bleached, Baja-influenced twang that deftly points to country music’s neo-traditionalists and LA’s legendary singer-songwriters. Thematically Tenderheart is a thesis on self-discovery and the power of love, and sets this course from the opening chords of “Everyone’s Looking For Home,” (as heard in the fittingly personal, even vulnerable album trailer released today, shared by Rolling Stone Country). The song is a cinematic, mariachi-laced meditation on Outlaw’s own conflicted, life-reorienting decisions.
Tenderheart’s introspection is most potent when filtered through Outlaw’s distinctive Los Angeles lens. “Bottomless Mimosas” is emotionally hollowing in its portrayal of west coast existentialism. “Bougainvillea, I Think” and “Dry In The Sun” round out this trio of ‘Los Angeles songs’ that explore the city’s faded beauty and define “SoCal Country” beyond instrumentation.
“Trouble,” one of the album’s standouts, makes being bad sound pretty damn good with determined ‘Side A’ swagger, and kicks off a classic country song cycle that chronicles a heart’s bend, break and mend. “She’s Playing Hard To Get (Rid Of)” showcases acerbic wit in teary three-four time, and sets the scene for “Two Broken Hearts” – a lovers’ getaway story with an open ending. Tenderheart shows that Outlaw’s songwriting continues to sharpen; his clever intertwining of country tropes with crisp modernism has already impressed the like of alt-country pioneer Ryan Adams, who repeatedly praised Outlaw’s debut.
Outlaw’s second album is a testimony to the new life set in motion by Angeleno, his debut. Angeleno’s success and critical acclaim propelled 18 months of international touring, including a performance at Stagecoach, four trips to Europe and several hundred gigs in the USA. It’s fitting that Tenderheart bottles the songs that are mainstays of his live show, including slow-burn waltz “Diamond Ring” and honky-tonk sing-along “All My Life.” “Look At You Now” is a regular highlight of his acoustic tours overseas, where Angeleno was recently nominated for AmericanaUK’s International Album of the Year alongside Sturgill Simpson, Drive-By Truckers and Margo Price.
Not one to mess with a winning combination, Sam called on many of the same musicians that made Angeleno such a success: harmony singer Molly Jenson, pedal steel pro Jeremy Long and guitarist Danny Garcia, along with Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) and Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket). Co-produced by Martin Pradler and Outlaw and recorded in the San Fernando Valley, Tenderheart also features Erwin Vasquez and Mariachi Teocuitatlan, a local mariachi group who appeared in the video for Angeleno’s title track.
Over the past two years Outlaw has learned that great dreams can only be achieved at great cost. At its core, Tenderheart is the outcome of another lesson learned: if your heart stays true, the sacrifice is worth it.
TENDERHEART TOUR DATES:
April 13 – Decatur, GA @ Eddie’s Attic #
April 14 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge #
April 15 – Knoxville, TN @ Barley’s Tap Room #
April 17 – Washington DC @ Songbyrd #
April 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle #
April 20 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge #
April 21 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott #
April 22 – Portland, ME @ Portland House of Music #
April 25 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern *
April 26 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark *
April 27 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement *
April 28 – Goshen, IN @ Ignition Garage *
April 29 – Evanston, IL @ SPACE *
May 1 – Milwaukee, WI @ Shank Hall *
May 2 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
May 4 – Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium *
May 5 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Icon Lounge *
May 6 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Jr. *
May 9 – Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room *
May 10 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Door *
May 11 – Fort Worth, TX @ Billy Bob’s
May 12 – Austin, TX @ Cactus Café *
May 13 – Eden, TX @ The Green Apple Arts Center
May 16 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *
May 18 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room *
May 19 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux *
May 20 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret *
May 21 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern *
May 23 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir *
May 25 – San Francisco, CA The Chapel *
May 30 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *
May 31 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah *
June 1 – West Hollywood, CA @ The Troubadour *
June 2 – Fresno, CA @ Strummer’s *
June 3 – Bakersfield, CA @ B-Ryder’s *
# Dori Freeman
* Michaela Anne