Outlaw Country Musician Sturgill Simpson is getting a ton of buzz lately in anticipation of his upcoming new album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. Even as someone not particularly connected with the country music scene it’s been hard to miss the fact that Sturgill is suddenly an “it” artist when he’s being discussed everywhere from Esquire to The New York Times. I’m hoping the major reason he is blowing up is because the new album is actually good, and when it’s released in two weeks, I’ll be sure to bitch about it here whether you want me to or not if it disappoints. But I know a lot of it is because he covered Nirvana’s “In Bloom” and people still can’t get off Kurt Cobain’s dick. You know, but rest in peace and all that. And hey, for what it’s worth, it’s actually pretty good.
Despite the press coverage and a grunge re-imagined as country cover, Sturgill actually caught my attention recently the fashioned way: a friend recommended him. Remember the simple days of yore when you got your music recs from people instead of apps? Ah well, the robots have won. Still, when I asked this new friend what kind of music they listen to and they responded with outlaw-country names I was intrigued. Both because I truly appreciate the sound of “real” old school country and was curious as to what’s been going on in the world of Outlaw Country with Waylon Jennings being dead for a decade, not releasing an album in almost two decades, and having country music taken over by hokey bullshit for most of my life. Anyway, I’ve been exploring the genre more for the past 6 weeks and haven’t been let down. Among the artists new and old, Simpson was highly recommended.
So now as automated music prog…errr, human being, it’s my responsibility to further the recommendation. So, jump on the bandwagon because Simpson is pretty solid. I liked his debut album, but his 2nd record, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, is my preferred disc. I won’t pretend that I’m an expect in the scene, but I will confirm that it is legitimately good country music without any red, white & blue pandering or red solo cup dumbing down. Just real songs with real emotion or at least a convincing acting job from an someone presumably without theatre training. It’s an enjoyable modern take on an old style that is often forgotten. And if you’re just in it for the novelty covers, this album actually has a pretty great version of the ’80s song “The Promise” . But you know, stick around for the songs he wrote too. And hope for the next soon-to-be-released batch to be as good.