L.A. roots country musician Sam Outlaw was nearly clotheslined in his own living room not long ago. That potentially bizarre mishap led to a moment of self-reflection that he turned into a song and, now, his latest video, "Dry in the Sun."
The Times is premiering the video, which was shot in Central California at a spread owned by actor-musicians Kevin Costner and his son, Joe Costner.
"I'm very much a Type A, go-get-'em kind of guy," said Outlaw, who is in Nashville this week for AmericanaFest, the musical gathering in conjunction with the 2017 Americana Music Assn. Awards, in which Outlaw is nominated for emerging artist.
"On one hand," he said, "that means I can be good at accomplishing things and achieving goals, but on the other, it can also mean I'm sometimes short on patience.
"My wife had done the laundry and left some things out to dry in our living room," said the 35-year-old South Dakota-born transplant to Los Angeles. "When I rounded the corner, I almost ran into the clothesline and started getting all worked up, thinking, 'Why are these in here? Why aren't they outside?' Then it hit me, 'Dude — chill out! What's wrong with you? Let the clothes be.' "
The song is from his second album, "Tenderheart," released in April. It's a short-and-sweet ode to letting nature take its course, which has any number of applications to real-life stressers.
"It's just a quick little two-minute folk-pop song," said Outlaw, who was born Sam Morgan and took his mother's maiden name for his surname — it's not a stage name. "To be honest, initially I was just hoping maybe I could get a sync [synchronization license usage] in a laundry commercial. But it does have meaning for me. It's about trying to relax, and stopping to smell the roses."
He and his wife, Andie, have a 1-year-old, which reinforces Outlaw's effort to have a more relaxed outlook.
"Tenderheart" is a domestic record but also a modern one in which big-city life is an equal part of one's family. He gives equal attention to missing an old neighbor on the ballad "Bougainvillea, I Think" and a reliably devilish friend on the Mellencamp-style rocker "Trouble."
Outlaw first turned ears with his Ry and Joachim Cooder-produced 2015 LP "Angeleno." Players like Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith and My Morning Jacket's Bo Koster helped flesh out a contemporary update of that '70s California country sound, with a heavy Mexican American influence.
"I've got a son now, and I don't want him growing up with a father who creates a walking-on-eggshells vibe in the house," he said. "So in that respect I'm working on being more peaceful, and I'm actually working with a guided meditation program that helps you retrain your brain. My goal is to be a calmer, more chill person."
The director of the video, Jesse Fleece, introduced Outlaw to Joe Costner, which led to the offer of the family's coastal spread as the backdrop during the shoot.
"We all got together with a bunch of friends, threw ourselves a little picnic party, drank some very good Central Coast wine and filmed a little slice of that party and pretended to play some music," he said. "After the video shoot, we put together a bonfire and played songs around the campfire."
All in all, pretty chill.
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