Sturgill Simpson Makes Classic Country Sound Cool

I can’t say I’ve ever discovered an artist because of a headline on, but that’s exactly the case with Sturgill Simpson. The headline?

Sturgill Simpson is the Radiohead of country music:
Simpson’s masterful new album may be the first truly modern country LP

Marissa Moss writes for Salon:

“Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” is a masterful work of musical experimentation, but it’s not revivalist: actually, it’s future-forward. Sure, it can be tempting to label it vintage-goes-bizarre, particularly the minute those pedal steel vamps swivel like a Southern version of a Rod Serling soundtrack – you’re traveling through another dimension, alright, and it’s nowhere near Music Row. But what it really is, if you strip away all the noise, is a truly modern offering. Sturgill Simpson isn’t the second coming of Waylon Jennings. He’s more likely on the path to becoming country music’s Radiohead.

Having listened to “Metamodern Sounds” a few times now, I can say that Marissa Moss overstates things a bit with the Radiohead comparison. In fact, if you check out the studio set Simpson performed at KEXP back in October 2013…

… it’s hard to see Simpson as anything but the second coming of Waylon Jennings. And I mean that as a huge compliment.

So why the Radiohead comparison? Perhaps it’s the lead track on the album, “Turtles All The Way Down.” It’s probably the trippiest country song I’ve ever heard.

Regardless, Moss’s piece is well worth reading and Simpson’s latest record is well worth listening to.

Thanks, Marissa and Salon, for getting my attention. And thanks Sturgill, for making classic country sound cool again.

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