Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth (2016)
Sturgill Simpson has just made the album Van Morrison coulda shoulda on his Nashville whistle stop 10 years ago. As listless as Morrison’s Pay The Devil was, Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide To Earth fairly leaps at you.
Critics spared no hyperbole in lauding the originality and vision of Simpson’s first two (self-made) albums, but it is Sailor that really pushes, nay disappears, the limits of what country is expected to be. Nine songs, 39 minutes and not one dull moment. He coos. He growls. He drawls. Strings swirl. Horns blast. Guitars rip. There’s even a twangy R&B Nirvana cover.
Inspired by his feelings toward his new son, Sailor combines the best of country storytelling and Steve Earle (the last fella to turn Nashville on its ear this much) country rockin’ with the same groovin’ soulful sounds that made a legend of Van The Man.
Simpson is just 37. Let’s call this Saint Sturgill’s Preview.