Sam Outlaw's crooked country

If you can't beat 'em... Country singers are setting up at rock clubs

Sam Morgan swears that “Outlaw” is his late mother’s maiden name.
  • Sam Morgan swears that “Outlaw” is his late mother’s maiden name.

"It Might Kill Me"

Sam Outlaw performing "It Might Kill Me" at Music City Roots live from the Loveless Cafe on 5.14.2014

Sam Outlaw performing "It Might Kill Me" at Music City Roots live from the Loveless Cafe on 5.14.2014

Sam Outlaw, the country singer from Los Angeles, presents something of a cultural paradox. Country-music haters complain that their music’s lost whatever authenticity it may have had back when Merle Haggard and Patsy Cline and Waylon Jennings and all those guys were still around making records and has since become way too rock and roll, but in a shiny Britney Spears sort of way. But on the other hand, the best new authentic country is finding audiences in the nation’s rock-and-roll venues. And that’s where you’ll find Outlaw. Nothing new here — Dwight Yoakam, credited with the revival of West Coast country music, broke out during the ’80s on the same bills as X and the Blasters.

Likewise, Outlaw has the smell of Bakersfield all over him, a California oil-and-cattle town that was origin to a distinctly honest and quick country music that disdained the pompous tripe flowing out of the Nashville pipeline back in the day. Outlaw seems to have picked right up where Leiber and Stoller might have gone (the legendary writers/producers crafted “Spanish Harlem” with Phil Spector in 1960) had they worked that mariachi honky-tonk angle a little harder.

Past Event

Sam Outlaw and Cale Tyson

  • Monday, September 12, 2016, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $10 - $12

Born in South Dakota in 1982, Sam Morgan swears that “Outlaw” is his late mother’s maiden name. Touring now in support of his debut album, Angeleno, Sam Outlaw has gotten many breaks in the two years since he self-released his first EP. First of all, Ry Cooder co-produced Angeleno. Outlaw’s since been staged at major festivals around the planet on the strength of that record and his live show, and the culture gurus at Rolling Stone and the Guardian like him. The BBC and NPR kind of dig him, too, but the larger question remains: are his songs, truthful and wry little three-minute tongue-in-cheek tunes like “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink (and Fall in Love”), too country for American country radio?

Cale Tyson and Reverend Baron also perform.

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