Dori Freeman, Grady Hoss
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
The future's bright for the young Angeleno
And an old song plays in his head
Far as he knows. . .
These lines from the title track of Sam Outlaw's debut album Angeleno could almost serve as a haiku-like artist bio. Outlaw is a southern Californian singer-songwriter steeped in the music and mythos of west coast country, absorbing the classic vibes of everything from '60s Bakersfield honky-tonk to '70s Laurel Canyon troubadour pop and refashioning them into a sound that's pleasurably past, present and future tense.
"The music I play, I call 'SoCal country,'" says Outlaw. "It's country music but with a Southern California spirit to it. What is it about Southern California that gives it that spirit, I don't exactly know. But there's an idea that I like that says - every song, even happy songs, are written from a place of sadness. If there's a special sadness to Southern California it's that there's an abiding shadow of loss of what used to be. But then, like with any place, you have a resilient optimism as well."
While he explores those shadows on the title track and the elegiac "Ghost Town," Outlaw mostly comes down on the side of the optimists through Angeleno's dozen tracks. Opener "Who Do You Think You Are?" breezes in with south of the border charm, all sunny melody wrapped in mariachi horns, while "I'm Not Jealous" is a honky-tonker with a smart twist on the you-done-me-wrong plot. "Love Her For A While" has the amiable lope of early '70s Poco, "Old Fashioned" the immediacy of a touch on the cheek, and the future Saturday night anthem "Jesus Take The Wheel (And Drive Me To A Bar)" shows Outlaw has a sense of humor to match his cowboy poet nature. Throughout, producers Ry and Joachim Cooder frame the material with spare, tasteful arrangements, keeping the focus on Outlaw's voice. And it's a voice that indeed seems to conjure up California in the same way as Jackson Browne's or Glenn Frey's. Easy on the ears, open-hearted, always with an undertow of melancholy.
Outlaw's journey west began in South Dakota - he was born Sam Morgan -with stops in the midwest before his family finally settled in San Diego. Like many artists, he got the music bug early. But he had serious restrictions on what he could listen to. "I grew up in a conservative Christian home," he explains. "My first real communal experience with music was in church. I always loved harmonizing with other people. And even though I was technically not allowed to listen to the radio, my dad loved the Beatles. My mom loved the Beach Boys and the Everly Brothers. So we listened to oldies radio, and I think got my first sense of melody and harmony from that."
After what he calls an "unfortunate" high school cover band ("We did almost all Oasis," he laughs) and some early stabs at songwriting in college, Outlaw's moment of revelation arrived via the classic country voices of Emmylou Harris and George Jones. "When I first heard them, it totally blew my mind," he says. "I went out the next day and bought Pieces of The Sky and a George Jones compilation. It was the first time I felt like I had a real special connection with music. That's when I started to get more serious about playing the guitar and writing."
After switching gears from a day job in Ad sales to pursue his passion, Outlaw marked the change by borrowing his mother's maiden name for a stage moniker. "The initial impetus for using Outlaw was no more than, 'Hey, this is a name that sounds country and it's a family name, so why not?'" he says. "Now, with my mom having passed away and her being a really strong encouragement in my life towards music, I like using the name as a way of honoring her."
He wasted no time doing his mom proud. A self-released EP in 2014, buzz about his live shows, slots at Stage Coach and AmericanaFest, a video on CMT. Meanwhile, as he prepared to self-produce his first-full length album, his drummer Joachim Cooder played some rough demos for his father, legendary guitarist Ry Cooder.
"When Ry expressed interest in working with me, it was just, 'Holy shit, I can't believe it!'" says Outlaw. "I mean, there's no sweeter person to make a 'country music in Southern California record about Southern California.' He's a master of so many genres."
To get familiar with the material, Cooder sat in with Outlaw's band. "Before we got in the studio, Ry had already played four shows with us. It helped him curate which members of my band would work best for the live tracking. I was thinking that we'd have five rehearsals before the studio, get everything super tight, then go in and knock it out of the park. But Ry said, 'The band knows the songs. Let's leave some room for life to happen when we get in there.' I liked that he had faith in the players and the songs that we didn't need to over-rehearse. And throughout the sessions, he was on top of every nook and cranny of the arrangements. "
Recording in Megawatt Studios in Los Angeles, with a band that included Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers) and Chuy Guzmán (Linda Ronstadt), Outlaw heard the album he always dreamed of coming to life. "Ninety percent of what you're hearing is still the five of us in a room performing a song," he says. "Ry plays on every song, electric and acoustic on the basics. And then all the overdubs he did were just insanely beautiful. He was able to make magic happen on every track.
The resulting record has the timeless feel of those that inspired Outlaw. It is also almost defiantly non-trendy. Does he worry about fitting in with a country scene teeming with bros and Bon Jovi wannabes? "This whole debate about what country music is or isn't, bro country versus traditional, americana versus ameripolitan, it's all pretty boring to me," he says. "I think I made the distinction of SoCal country because I know that people crave classification. Ultimately I think that the music will speak for itself."
As Outlaw gears up to support Angeleno with tour dates opening for Dwight Yoakam and Clint Black ("Two of my heroes," he says), he's hopeful not only for his own record but a comeback of the music he loves. "I've made it a personal mission to remind people how great country music is," he says. "And specifically, I want to remind them that Southern California has a really rich history with country music. Even though there hasn't been a scene here for a long time, there has been a noticeable resurgence. If I can be involved in some kind of revival in the spirit of this music, that would make me very proud."
Dori Freeman is a twenty-five-year-old singer and songwriter from the southwestern hills of Virginia. Dori comes from a family of artists - her father and grandfather both respected musicians. Her style subscribes to no one genre, but the influence of her Appalachian upbringing lies at the core of her music - heard especially in the lulling mountain drawl of her voice. She sings without affect and with striking clarity.
Dori's style was shaped by American Roots music: Bluegrass, Rhythm and Blues, and Old Country. Her early introduction to musicians like Doc Watson, The Louvin Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, and Iris Dement have heavily influenced her music. Dori learned how to play the guitar at fifteen and began writing her own material a few years later, citing the work of Rufus Wainwright as the spark that inspired her to pen her first song.
Dori currently lives in Galax, VA.
Grady Hoss & The SideWinders are a Philadelphia based Alt Country band with a Classic Country twang.
Philadelphia singer/songwriter/producer, Lance Davis, is reprising his southern origin as the country singer-songwriter, Grady Hoss. Through the 7-year, trying emotional experience of watching his 84 yr old father endure Alzheimers, Davis found that his heart was being pulled away from his usual Rock-and-Rolling style, towards the country music of his childhood. "I started revisiting the old country music that dad used to listen to when I was a kid because it reminds me of him.. It's very nostalgic listening to this music now as an adult...Kinda like listening to Frank or Bing at Christmas time ya know?"
As opposed to his most recent productions, the genre of choice in his youth tended towards an amalgamation of alt rock and heavy metal to then forming dark moody alternative bands in the 90's and 2000's (For Souls On Fire, LATEBLOOM, Shelton Davis). In 2007, needing to distance himself from the relentless music business, Davis stepped away from his personal pursuit of being a singer/songwriter. During that time Davis spent most of his time building his studio ROKBOX Productions and producing other artists and mixing. Lately however, through encouragement from his friends, family and a (lately) tumultuous life, Lance became inspired to return to expressing himself through song writing. "This time I'm doing this for myself. No 'larger than life' goals or expectations...I just wanna have fun doing what I love to do."
Pairing the pain of his father’s battle with Alzheimers and ending a long term relationship, Davis took refuge in writing country compositions. "This was such a learning experience for me on so many levels but the one I was most surprised by was how I realized that this music was so engrained in my blood." Davis’ father, Jerome Grady Davis, was an “old-fashioned southern man,” from North Carolina and raised his son on the classics; Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Marty Robbins, Buck Owens and other country legends. Still scouring his most base memories for inspiration, Davis was pulled back into the world of his childhood, nearly grasping the faint echoes of Johnny Cash streaming from his parents’ stereo.
Though influenced by the country singers of his youth, Davis was most affected by his family. Davis looks back fondly on listening to his mother, a singer-songwriter herself, sit at the edge of her bed, play guitar and sing Emmy Lou Harris and Patsy Cline songs. His father’s side of the family, as well, brought the true spirit of country into his early memories, adding drums and banjo to the performance. The band’s name itself comes from his daddy, whose middle name is 'Grady'...and ‘Hoss,’ a Southern term of endearment, holds a special place in Lance’s memory as well. "When I was a kid some of my dad's friends used to call him ‘Hoss’...I used to get the biggest kick out of that,” recollects Davis. The 1972 GMC Pickup Truck his father drove, complete with a cb radio, an airbrush logo containing a Texas rattlesnake wearing a cowboy hat, provided the second half of the band name. "My dad's CB handle in the 70's/80's was 'The Sidewinder' and his best friend Gil had a 70's Hot Rod Van and he would go by 'Lil Red Devil'...Man I loved when we would all go on road trips together"
As a tribute to classic country music artists and session players, Grady insisted his band also have classic nicknames: Grady Hoss’ Sidewinders consist of guitarist Bucky Vennerson (Vince Federici), drummer Earl Smokesman (Charlie Heim), bassist Dusty Reigns (Dan O'neil) and Dave Van Allen on pedal steel. This unique requirement also helped fulfill Davis’ personal expectation of each band member; to KEEP THINGS FUN. Don’t be fooled by Davis’ seemingly carefree attitude towards this project. Davis has a firm belief in the healing nature of music and its ability to bring about a “balance between the body, mind and soul”. He isn’t shy to admit that much of his music includes “a bit of melancholy,” simply because when the heart is heavy, “music is therapy”. This is exactly the theory that launched Lance back into writing, although he initially kept his compositions personal. Only through the support of several close friends was Davis propelled to record these “diary compositions”. His undying notion that “there's nothing like a connection and synergy with other musicians,” led him to invite these close friends to become his band. Ready to execute his duality as a musician to the world, Grady and his Sidewinders stormed the stage with a fresh repertoire of country songs.