EXCLUSIVE: Sam Outlaw Talks New Single ‘Forever and Always’, Dueting With Sarah Darling and UK Fans

This Friday (July 26th) California born, Nashville based country singer/songwriter Sam Outlaw releases his poignant new single ‘Forever and Always’. The heartfelt ballad about true love features breathtaking guest vocals from Iowa native and adopted Brit Sarah Darling. Along with releasing the single, Outlaw will also be returning to the UK this September for a string of live dates.

Here we speak exclusively to Sam Outlaw to discuss ‘Forever and Always’, working with Sarah Darling, UK audiences and more:

Hello, how are you? Congratulations on the new single

I’m good. Thanks so much, I’m really excited to get to share this new little baby with the world. I feel so lucky that I got Sarah [Darling] to sing with me. I feel like when I wrote this song it really required someone with like a very sweet and classic voice because it’s really like an old school kind of love song you know.

So, how did you approach Sarah to join you on the track?

It was actually a fellow songwriting buddy, somebody named Jeff Cohen. Jeff makes some wonderful music and he’s toured a lot out in the UK and my manager and myself brought the song to Jeff thinking he might have some ideas and so he was actually the one who connected me with Sarah and I feel so lucky because you know I was somewhat familiar with her music beforehand but when he mentioned Sarah I looked up her music on Spotify and I think the first song I listened to was a song she has [called] ‘Where Cowboys Ride’ and in like the first four seconds of hearing the song I was like “yes”.

She was perfect and in fact I even listened to some songs with my wife because my wife is like an actual real-life cowboy and she grew up riding horses and such a crazy coincidence that we told Sarah about, as it turns out that that music video for that song [Where Cowboys Ride] was shot in the very same small town in Wyoming where my wife has worked as a Ranch Hand. Honestly, it felt like it was meant to be, I mean that’s just a ridiculous coincidence, there are so many ranches in America and out of all those places in even Wyoming she shot it in that same little place where my wife has worked so it felt really appropriate.

What was it like working in the studio with Sarah?

There’s not a lot of people, you can hear it in the track it’s stripped back there’s not a heavy production we just didn’t feel like it needed it. I recorded the song with my vocals all in the same day and I think Sarah was out of town so we actually had her come in to the studio to cut her vocals after and in between we got together at my place and kind of ran through the song and I could just see it was gonna be great.

And sure enough we got her in the studio and she was prepared, she was ready. I mean frankly, without trying to be self-deprecating she’s just a way better singer than me so it was nice to hear the song performed so beautifully and she also really wanted to get it right. Like we really listened to the little small nuances in her voice and we tried different things, different takes to see what would be the right tone and she’s a hard-working, focused person and it was a pleasure to work with her.

Was the track going to be a solo song originally or was it always going to be a duet?

You know when I first wrote the tune and it was one of those songs that almost felt like it wrote itself, it just kind of happened really quickly. I think in some ways it felt almost like a companion song to another sweet little love song I have called ‘Loved Her For A While’, the song that was on my first record. It’s a song that is so cheesy but I actually wrote that song feeling love. I was sitting on my porch in LA, looking at my wife and feeling thankful and so that kind of classic I actually feel that feeling.

You’ve said previously that ‘Forever and Always’ feels like an old classic, was that intentional or did it just happen?

It feels like a wedding song and the thing is I just wrote the song and when I was writing it was almost like when my wife and I got married the song that she walked down the aisle to, because we did a very small, small ceremony mostly just for family and then we opened it up to some more friends for the reception but you know we used The Everly Brothers song ‘Devoted To You’ and it’s just like that classic love thing with lyrics like “I’ll never make you cry” so I think I had this sentiment when I wrote the song, and it’s completely devoid of any sort of irony, it’s just a very sweet, straight-ahead non cynical love song. I think it just reminded me of The Everly Brothers but I wanted to do a little bit of a Don Williams feel because I think it kind of has that sweet gentleness to it that he always brought to his songs. It’s pretty like “hey man, if you feel cynical about love, this is not the song for you”.

Has your wife heard the song and is she a fan?

Yes! I showed it to her right away because I was so excited. I went running upstairs like an idiot. But it was so awkward too because when I first showed it to her I was still feeling the emotions behind it and I even teared up a little bit and I could tell she was just like “Woah, calm down buddy”. But yeah, I think she liked it, I’ve shown it to her also with Sarah’s vocals and she loves it.

We think a lot of people will be having this as their first dance

Well, I hope so, you know it always feels special like I said when you find that vocal chemistry with someone and so it was the right choice.

Do you have any plans to release a music video for ‘Forever and Always’?

Oooh, a music video. Man, I actually haven’t even considered that because we just recorded it, like not that long ago so I was like “I wanna release this as a single” so I think what we’ll probably do is when we put it out this Friday and people have heard it, we’ll see [the reaction]. I mean I’m not in this like big pop-country radio world where it’s like we’re pushing this single and spending a million dollars to see if you know tops the charts. It’s not that kind of operation obviously but I think I’ll gage it you know. If it seems like a song that really connects with people and kind of like with a song, with a video there has to be an idea, so I think if we could find an idea that seems sweet and seems appropriate for the tune then I’d probably want to go forward and do something but yeah I hadn’t even thought of a video yet. You’re the first person that brought it up, so maybe we will do a video and it’ll be your fault that we did the video because you thought of it.  

So, with the track out on Friday, can we expect to see you on stage with Sarah Darling at Nashville Meets London on Saturday?

Well, I’m going to be playing the stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Friday. There’s physically no way that I could play the Grand Ole Opry and Nashville Meets London. And I know Isome people on social media comment about that and what I will say is this; we are definitely exploring the possibility of us maybe doing some touring together. So if we don’t get to perform the song together at Nashville Meets London on July 27th, I’m still hopeful that maybe there’ll be an opportunity for us to perform the song in some other variation very soon. 

You also have a string of UK festival dates of your own coming up, how excited are you to be returning to Britain?

Oh so excited, it’s been a year you know so it’s been a while. Before I had two kids I was pretty much on the road for three years straight and I felt like I was getting back to the UK like every twenty seconds. So it’s actually been a whole year and yeah I get to play the Long Road on September 6th and then I’m doing like eight or nine additional dates in the UK at the end of September, beginning of October. So I can’t wait to get back and I actually will have my friend Lydia Luce opening the show and playing with my band and even though she’s not my duet partner officially on the recording [of Forever and Always] she’s a completely capable vocalist and if she wants to we could even perform the song together but I’d love the opportunity for me and Sarah to do it.

Sept 6th – The Long Road Festival, Lutterworth, UK

Sept 30th – Bullingdon Arms, Oxford, UK
Oct 1st – Bush Hall, London, UK
Oct 2nd – Night & Day Cafe, Manchester, UK
Oct 3rd – Glee Club, Nottingham, UK
Oct 4th – Newbald Village Hall, North Newbald, UK
Oct 5th – Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Oct 6th – Glee Club, Glasgow, UK

So finally, what would you say your favourite thing about performing to a UK audience is?

I mean there’s a lot about being the UK that’s kind of like grown on me. When I first started visiting I think so much of what I saw was just London, and it’s just this big massive sprawling dirty city and then I got to find the parts London that I like and then from there I kind of branched out and started finding all these other places in the UK that I love.

Like, for instance, I absolutely love being in Scotland. Edinburgh is probably one of my favourite places in the whole world. And I love Glasgow so I think one of the things I like about the UK audience is that they don’t seem to be there because they perceive you as some like fad you know it’s not like they’re just there because you’re the next top thing in that minute, they seem like a very loyal fanbase they seem like very sort of interested and deeply connected audience.

In fact, at first it was like, depending on the city like you know Manchester is like always rowdy and that’s always like a crazy show and then there are other towns where you play your song and they clap and it’s like silence and you’re like “oh my God”. So I would actually venture to say the UK audience is very diverse so to answer the question I’d almost have to say well “which UK audience are we talking about?”.

But I will say overall it’s always been a positive, I feel so tremendously lucky that my songs have been embraced out there and I feel so tremendously lucky that the BBC supports me and puts my music out there for people to hear because without that I don’t know if I’d have the ability to go tour the UK and actually make money. So it’s great and now that I’m living in Nashville and British Airways has this sweet direct flight to Heathrow, man I feel like a millionaire, you know back and forth, no problem. So to answer your question simply, it’s a pleasure always and I can’t wait to get back.

Fans will be able to hear Sam Outlaw performing ‘Forever and Always’ with Sarah Darling during her 96th performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on August 16th. Tickets for all of Sam’s upcoming tour dates are on sale now from samoutlaw.com

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Written by Laura Klonowski

Qualified music journalist! Writing single/album/live reviews, feature articles, interviews, and news pieces.
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