Earlier this year, country artist Sturgill Simpson released his second studio album titled Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Joining Mr. Simpson on the album are Laur Joamets (electric/slide guitar), Kevin Black (bass), Miles Miller (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Mike Webb (keyboards, mellotron), and Dave Cobb (classical guitar, percussion).
Metamodern Sounds in Country Music finds Sturgill Simpson blending together the familiar sounds of country music with atmospheric sound effects that push the envelope and guide the country genre into unfamiliar territory. The basic ingredients of country music can be found in almost every song; acoustic picking, vocals heavy on longing and memories, and melting slide guitar licks. What makes many of these songs stand out, though, is Sturgill’s psychedelic touch.
“Turtles All the Way Down” and Life of Sin” feature acoustic playing and a honky tonk vibe respectively, while incorporating sound effects and echoed vocals. Lead single “Living the Dream” is a mid-tempo country rocker with classic slide guitar and organ sounds.
Sturgill’s lyrics are heavy with storytelling in “Voices” and his cover of When in Rome’s “The Promise.” Steady drumming and bass support guitar picking brewing with attitude in his version of Buford Abner’s “Long White Line.” One can’t help but admire Sturgill’s honest lyrics when he opens the tune “Just Let Go” with the words, “Woke up today decided to kill my ego, it never done me no good no how.”
A song highly recommended for headphone listening is the experimental “It Ain’t All Flowers,” where he demonstrates his craft for mixing the classic country sound with spaced out effects. Closing the album is bonus track “Panbowl,” which finds Sturgill longing to go back to his younger years over strummed acoustic playing.
Sturgill Simpson isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Instead, he’s steering the classic country sound into a new territory by keeping the basic elements and adding his own unique style.
For Sturgill Simpson’s latest music, news, and tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.