I wrote a music blog for about five years, but a few years back it crashed and died. The entire blog and all of the archives are dead and gone. I held a candle light vigil for months, hoping the crime would be acknowledged by the local news, but all I got was a generally wonderful smelling home. Blood orange and sandalwood seemed to be what the candle was scented.
This is the resurrection. And I don’t know where to begin. Someone just asked me what my first post would be and I had no response. I’m honestly not insanely excited about any albums from the past few weeks, but there certainly have been some gems. So why not start with the album that I was just listening to as I put this website together.
Tenderheart by Sam Outlaw.
Sam Outlaw, who from what I’ve read actually has a mother with that maiden name, is a rarity – a country artist from Los Angeles. I was a huge fan of his debut album, Angeleno, that came out a couple of years back. It’s very much a country album, but with a west coast, laid back vibe. And it isn’t bullshit bro-country like Sam Hunt or Florida Georgia Line. Not that I don’t partake in those listening pleasures as well. But this isn’t that.
Living in LA myself, I had the luxury of attending a few shows that Outlaw played with his band at a hipster bar in Hollywood recently. He had a weekly residency for a month and they were really wonderful shows. He played a few of his new tracks, but for the most part, it was nothing but genuine country hits from the 80’s and 90’s. I grew up with parents who listened to country and even went line dancing on the regular, so hearing some of these songs was a real pleasure, bringing me back to my youth. But what was really great was the scene. Those shows reminded me how fun country music is and made me wonder why there is practically nowhere in the enormous city of Los Angeles to see this down home music on the regular. It made me yearn for Nashville. I’d be happy to throw on my shit kickers and hit the honkey tonk on the regular if one actually existed in this town. But alas, I’m left with my records and whatever is left in the bottle of whiskey that I couldn’t finish the night before.
Outlaw’s newest album, Tenderheart, was just released this past week and it honestly surprised me a bit. After seeing his rollicking shows last month at mentioned hipster location, I expected something that reminded me a bit more of Alan Jackson or Brooks & Dunn, but instead it reminds me of something between Vince Gill and James Taylor. It’s soft and sensual and reminiscent and calming. It’s a beautiful album that lies somewhere between country and 1970’s singer/songwriter. It’s not a country album that you’ll be playing while tailgating or even the next time that you’re hanging by the pool. It’s a country album best enjoyed with a glass of red wine on a quiet Friday night, lounging on the couch with someone equally interested in listening. As, it is an album for listening, digesting, enjoying.
And, we’re resurrected. Cheers.