"Tenderheart is just about the state of the heart." A chat with Sam Outlaw
Hey Sam, how the devil are you?
I’m good. Pretty worn out from a very busy year but I’m good.
What have you been up to today?
Woke up in Stockholm. Had some breakfast. Worked on my computer. Now I’m working in the van on the 6 hour drive to Kristianstad.
How would you describe Tenderheart in two sentences?
Stories from my past, present and future. Tenderheart is just about the state of the heart.
If people could only listen to one track from the record, which would you suggest?
'Tenderheart'. I heard it the other day and I think the guitars on the chorus sound really great.
How did you approach writing for the record?
I was touring non-stop so I relied on songs to pop into my head and stay there long enough to finish them. Most of the new tunes were completed just before we tracked them.
And did you use anything you’ve learnt since recording Angeleno to change the process?
I think I’m getting better at singing and capturing my voice. I don’t consider myself a great singer so that’s always been a challenge for me.
How did you bag Ry Cooder to produce that for you?
I hired his son, Joachim to play drums. Joachim sent some rehearsal demos to Ry and the rest is history.
How was self-producing, do you find it hard to be self-critical?
Being self-critical is probably the most natural thing in the world to me. I really enjoy producing and luckily I have a great partner in crime: Martin Pradler.
I think my favourite song is ‘Bottomless Mimosas’, it just captures a feel and a sound that translates brilliantly. Where’s your favourite place to grab a drink?
I have a few favorite bars in LA: Monty Bar, 1642, Zebulon, TEE GEES, Stella (before it gets crowded). But probably my favorite place to drink is at home with my wife and friends.
Your surname’s been a bit controversial in the past, and now Midland are getting a bit of stick around not being “authentic”. Does any of that stuff bother you, or is it just whining?
It’s 99% whining. If an artist is willfully dishonest about themselves that’s unfortunate - but even in that case I think we should all remember that showbiz is showbiz and all your favorite artists have secrets and lies. I don’t know the Midland guys but I dig the tunes on the album and that’s the ultimate test.
Have you been surprised at how the UK has received you? After all you won International Album Of The Year at the UK Americana Awards, that’s impressive!
I’ve been surprised and I’m very thankful. Winning that award meant a lot to me mostly in that it recognized all the hard work that has gone into my music and career by not only myself but my collaborators.
You’re back touring the UK, where are you looking forward to visiting?
Who doesn’t love London?
How’s your 2017 been so far?
Beautiful. Exhausting. I’ve been on the road so much I’m looking forward to finally getting some time with my family around the holidays. But touring is how I make money to live.
If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
'Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe' by Kendrick Lamar.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
Would you ever consider moving to a different country?
Finally, how do you take your coffee? (Or alcohol?)
In the morning, and in the evening. Respectively.
Thanks so much for your time Sam, have fun while you’re in the UK.
You can find out more about Sam including his tour dates at his website. You can also follow him on Twitter or like his Facebook page if you fancy. And Tenderheart is out now at many places you buy or stream music.