About Sturgill Simpson
Sturgill Simpson wasn’t the only country-music maverick to emerge in the 2010s, but he was the most game-changing by leaps and bounds. Born in 1978, Simpson grew up in Kentucky and developed a hard-country sound with lyrics that pushed the envelope of genre convention and a voice that earned endless comparisons to Waylon Jennings. His 2013 debut album, High Top Mountain, generated a lot of buzz for a DIY release, but the next year’s follow-up, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, was the one that really put him in the game, reaching the Top 10 on the country charts. More idiosyncratic than his previous output, it featured some utterly out-there lyrics and an attention-grabbing cover of “The Promise,” an ’80s hit by UK synth-poppers When In Rome. Simpson was soon snapped up by the majors, and 2016’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth earned a Grammy for its unconventional mix of country, soul, orchestral arrangements, and alt-rock, not to mention a country ballad cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom.” In 2019, SOUND & FURY ventured further afield than he’d ever been before, incorporating hard rock, electronics, and funk. Despite containing no country tunes at all, it still went to No. 3 in the country charts. His 2020 post-COVID-lockdown release Cuttin’ Grass No. 1: The Butcher Shoppe Sessions saw a rootsy return, with bluegrass versions of his old songs featuring an all-star cast of bluegrass virtuosos.
BORNJune 8, 1978