I have two words for you about the musicians that will be gracing the Fred Shellman Stage this year at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival this year, Sturgill Simpson. Simpson is an artist you do not want to miss this year! Sturgill’s voice is like a good whiskey; smooth, deep, and makes you want more!
His music is what I would describe as soulful country. His first album, High Top Mountain, was released in 2013 and since then he has released two more albums; Metamodern Sounds in Country Music in 2014, and A Sailor’s Guide to Earth in 2016. Listening to his first album, he moves effortlessly between slow country songs like Water in the Well to boot stomping dancing songs like Sitting Here Without You. In Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Simpson experiments with a psychedelic twist to country music while keeping true to his country music roots. The Promise, a cover song on Mertamodern, shows Simpson’s drive to experiment, putting his twist on a popular 90’s hit by When in Rome with his emotional and raw energy that has become a signature sound. His most recent album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, is written for his young son who was born when Metamodern was gaining popularity.
“ I decided to write the whole record from the perspective of a sailor going to sea and not knowing of he’s ever coming home.” Simpson says in regards to being on tour and missing out on being with his son.
Producing the album himself, he wanted an intimate album that maybe one day his son could look back on and get idea of the kind of person Simpson was. A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is filled with beautifully written songs like Nirvana’s In Bloom, a heartfelt tribute to Kurt Cobain, and dirty groovtastic songs like Call to Arms. This album is a mixture of his raw voice, his country roots of his first album, and his psychedelic experimentation from his second. His latest album showcases horn instruments and influences of Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers.
Get ready to dance people! If you like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, or Willie Nelson, I think you will like Sturgill Simpson. His music is a taste of yesterday’s country music for today.
Sturgill performs 9:15 to 10:45 pm on Sunday June 24th on the main stage at Town Park.
Sydney Roop, "DJ Squid"