California-raised, Tennessee-based singer & songwriter Sam Outlaw returns to the UK & Europe in March on the back of his ambitious third full-length album, the new wave-inspired Popular Mechanics, out now to stream/download.
Solely writing seven of the album’s 11 tracks, Outlaw fuses the sounds of his favourite artists of the ‘80s – Kenny Loggins, Cyndi Lauper, Tom Petty – with stories influenced by the great innovators of the 20th century and the engineers that make up his own family tree.
Following the early success of his country-leaning albums, Angeleno (2015) and Tenderheart (2017), which led to features from NPR, The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal and more, Popular Mechanics marks a deliberate shift into new territory for Sam, who spent the last two years exploring his sound and revisiting material he had initially shelved in early 2018.
Following his cross-country move to Nashville, Outlaw was inspired during a visit from his father, a mechanical engineer, prompting an increased focus on the technological side of music creation. Making the connection between industrial machines and the role technology plays in recorded music, he was reminded of his love of the ‘80s hits he grew up on, and everything came into focus once he envisioned the album’s title, Popular Mechanics:
“I’ve always loved ‘80s music so I started learning about the engineers and music producers from that era, like Trevor Horn, Mutt Lange, Neil Dorfsman,” says Outlaw. “It was a time when the producer and the recording engineer were as critical to the creative process as the artists. Those producers pushed the technology to achieve their creative vision because their inspiration was not so much the music of the past, but the possibilities of the future.”
Approaching the project with vinyl in mind, the first six songs (Side A) transport listeners to the musical bombast of Sunset Avenue in the mid-80s: fretless bass, synthesizers, drum machines and stacked vocals, including the lead radio single ‘Polyamorous’ – a song inspired by the true story love triangle that created Wonder Woman in the 1940s.
Side B, on the other hand, features more of the Americana-inspired musical aspects that fans have grown to love from Outlaw over the years, while leaning further into the rock arena with the power ballads, flourishing strings and layered guitars.
“Up until now, the music I’ve made really only shows one side of myself, but I put my whole heart on the line with ‘Popular Mechanics,'” Outlaw explains. “I hope listeners will approach this album with open minds because creative expression is, after all, the shared celebration of the creative spirit that lives inside every one of us.”
Popular Mechanics will be released on CD on March 4th 2022, with a vinyl release to follow in April. Sam Outlaw tours the UK & Europe throughout March – tickets on sale now:
March 1, 2022 – Kristianstad Theater – Kristianstad, Sweden
March 2, 2022 – Katalin – Uppsala, Sweden
March 3, 2022 – Nalen – Stockholm, Sweden
March 4, 2022 – Tryckhallen – Falkenberg, Sweden
March 5, 2022 – Palladium – Malmö, Sweden
March 6, 2022 – Pustervik – Göteborg, Sweden
March 9, 2022 – John Dee Live Club & Pub – Oslo, Norway
March 10, 2022 – Trykkeriet Scene – Trondheim, Norway
March 12 – Madam Felle – Bergen, Norway
March 14, 2022 – Oosterpoort – Groningen, Netherlands
March 15, 2022 – Tivoli Vredenburg – Utrecht, Netherlands
March 17, 2022 – Omeara – London, United Kingdom
March 18, 2022 – The Stables, United Kingdom
March 19 – Cryer Arts – Carshalton, United Kingdom
March 22, 2022 – Hen and Chicken Southville – Bristol, United Kingdom
March 24, 2022 – Jericho Tavern – Oxford, United Kingdom
March 25, 2022 – Mid Sussex Music Hall – Hassocks, United Kingdom
March 26, 2022 – Manchester Academy – Manchester, United Kingdom
March 27, 2022 – Oran Mor – Glasgow, United Kingdom
March 28, 2022 – Gosforth Civic Theatre – Gosforth, United Kingdom