dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Country music from the city of Los Angeles
Country singer Sam Outlaw tours the UK this summer with a stop at Birmingham Town Hall. With the two albums Angeleno and Tenderheart to his credit, the Los Angeles based singer certainly have plenty of material to choose from but audiences may not hear the tracks in quite the way they are used to.
He says: "When I'm singing live I don't want to do what I've done before so I try and mix it up a bit. We'll maybe take a song which people expect to hear solo and do that as a whole band and then we'll take some that people expect to be performed by the full band and I'll do them solo acoustically. I also usually try and weave in a cover or two, something a little left of centre, and then I like to go and talk to people afterwards and hear their take on the show. For me, these shows are a chance to connect with people and to bring a little bit of my weird Los Angeles perspective to the UK."
Based in Southern California, Sam's music, known as SoCal, is country but with a modern twist. "I started calling it SoCal Country because I didn't have another word for it so I made one up," he confesses. "Traditional classic country and honky tonk is part of what I do and I also weave in a bit of that seventies kind of troubadour songs like James Taylor and Crosby, Stills and Nash or Jackson Browne".
He adds: "I'm not trying to photocopy classic country music, I'm trying to take elements of that and elements of soft rock and elements of rock 'n' roll and elements of all these other things that I fall in love with as I go."
Sam is among a host of country singers being discovered by younger audiences across the globe. Tenderheart debuted at number three in the UK Country Albums Chart, received two award nominations from the British Country Music Association and its title track won International Song of the Year at the UK Americana Awards.
And he believes that's partly because he's blending influences. "Maybe for the newer or younger audiences, it's the juxtaposition of recognising the vintage quality of classic country but not settling for a replication of that," he says. "It's wanting to have one foot in the past but also leaping ahead to whatever else can be done."
Sam Outlaw plays Birmingham Town Hall on 2 August. Contact 0121 780 3333 or www.thsh.co.uk for tickets.