The word is that the sold out Sturgill Simpson show at Terminal West tonight is the hottest ticket in town. It’s definitely the most talked about show this year per my social media feeds. My introduction to Sturgill Simpson came by chance at the Jason Isbell show in Atlanta last year. A friend at the show asked if I’d heard of him and at the time, I had not. I tucked the name into a corner of my brain and made a note to check it out. For some reason, I never felt compelled to give it a listen. You might chalk it up to “alt-country burnout” or the fact that there’s just so much music going on that it’s nearly impossible to keep it all straight. I guess I saw an advertisement for an Isbell show and the Ryman, saw that Simpson was on the bill and decided to get the download. My first impression was the guy’s voice. To my ear, he sounds like a Waylon clone and I nearly stopped it right there. Waylon’s good. A second rate Waylon copycat is not. I stayed with it and I’m so glad I did. Simpson’s voice is almost a carbon copy of Waylon but he takes it just a little further. “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” is a timeless sound with some honest to goodness psychedelic atmospherics blended seamlessly into the background. The two “single” cuts from the album are “Turtles All the Way Down” and “Life of Sin”. “Turtles..” is a nice preview of the record. It’s traditional Nashville instrumentation and vocal with a freak out thrown in for good measure. And then the lyrics turn into a DMT experience complete with reptile aliens made of light… Great story behind the title, too. Check it out. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out or you’ve never been introduced, here it is and I’ll gladly take credit for the introduction. You should own this.
For the bonus material- you should know that before he became a solo act, Sturgill was active on the bluegrass circuit and is a hell of a guitar player to boot. There’s some great live footage that I’ll link to below with his old trio called Sunday Valley. Simpson is greasing the Tele and chicken pickin’ although in his current band, he mostly handles the D-28 and vocals. Also, I’ll link to an absolutely blistering performance from KEXP in Seattle. I won’t leave without encouraging those of you who like what you hear to go ahead and pickup his first solo record called “High Top Mountain”. As Mike Damone used to say- “you won’t regret it.”
If you’ve got tickets to the show, we look forward to the opportunity to rock out with you. If you don’t make it…get the album, crack a window and crack a cold one. Let’s have some fun!!!
“Turtles All the Way Down”:
Live on KEXP:
Sunday Valley – “Never Go To Town Again”