Sam Outlaw wears heartache well. On the unhurried “Diamond Ring,” he dresses himself up as a mid-century country crooner, delivering a song built for sock hops and honky-tonk slow dances.
A staple of Outlaw’s live sets as far back as 2012, “Diamond Ring” made its official debut on last year’s Tenderheart. The song receives a second release next month, when a live version of appears on Amazon’s anti-Valentine’s Day playlist, “Love Me Not.” Recorded during the 2017 Americana Music Festival, the new performances shines a light not only on Outlaw’s voice, but also on the sweep and swoon of his live band, whose members add pedal steel, harmonies and Telecaster twang to the mix. The result is a classic country ballad that sounds both layered and lived-in.
“Diamond Ring is about being a self-centered twenty-something,” says Outlaw, who kicks off the Valentine’s Day season with a short European tour before heading back home to California. “I’m no longer in my twenties, but the rest of that still applies to me pretty accurately.”