Starting off the fourth year of this program with one of the hottest new acts around.
"I've surmised that there are only two kinds of music: bad music and soul music." – Sturgill Simpson.
Sturgill Simpson is quite literally one of the hottest new acts in any genre of music going today. Born in rural Kentucky, he is son of a police officer and a secretary. He struggled through school before enlisting in the Navy. He loved music from an early age, starting off with Country, then delving into classic Rock, classic 1960’s Soul and R&B and then Americana and the Blues. He also is a huge fan of many of today’s most popular Hip-Hop artists.
Simpson is also 40 years old, a getting a very late start in a business that is focused on youth. He worked a series of odd jobs around the country, in places like Nashville, Seattle and Salt Lake City, attempting to figure out what he was going to do with his life. It was at the latter place that he met his future wife. She bought him a four-track recorder, and then he toured with a band called Sunday Valley. Simpson went solo after the release of their one, now out-of-print record, To The Wind and On To Heaven.
He recorded his first two records in literally a week a piece with a budget less than what a new automobile costs to purchase. By the time of his second album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, the big city music press took notice, winning accolades from publications like Rolling Stone and the New York Times. His third LP, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, written for his newborn son, and not only hit the top of the Country charts, but made the Top 5 of the Billboard Top 200 LP’s chart and was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 2017. He did win the trophy for Best Country Album.
His has become infamous of late in Country music circles for a 1,000 word Facebook post, criticizing the Academy of County Music after it announced the "Merle Haggard Spirit Award." An excerpt: “If the ACM wants to actually celebrate the legacy and music of Merle Haggard, they should drop all the formulaic cannon-fodder bullshit they've been pumping down rural America's throat for the last 30 years along with all the high school pageantry, meat parade award show bullshit, and start dedicating their programs to more actual country music."
At the Country Music Awards this year, even with his massive crossover success, he was not invited in. He ended up being the most talked about performer at the program, however, as he busked for change outside of the venue, criticizing the Trump administration and accepting requests on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union.
And some still people believe that having a family, being successful, being a Country artist, being from a rural town and getting older mean that for some reason you must become more conservative.
Our tracks this week: Title, Year, Source
1. Turtles All The Way Down, 2014, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
2. You Can Have The Crown (live), 2013, live performance at Sun King Brewery
3. Some Days (live), 2013, live performance at Sun King Brewery
4. Oh Sarah, 2011, To The Wind and On To Heaven (Sunday Valley)
5. Memories of You and I (live), 2017, Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings
6. All Around You, 2016, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
7. Sitting Here Without You, 2013, High Top Mountain
8. Breakers Roar, 2016, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
9. Life Ain’t Fair and the World Is Mean, 2013, High Top Mountain
10. Call to Arms (live), 2017, from Saturday Night Live
11. Sugar Daddy, 2017, soundtrack to Vinyl: Music from the Original HBO Series
12. Long White Line, 2014, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
13. Railroad of Sin, 2013, High Top Mountain
14. In Bloom, 2016, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
15. Poor Rambler, 2013, High Top Mountain
16. It Ain’t All Flowers, 2014, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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