Sturgill Simpson has taken americana to new places – some of them not always comfortable ones. His 2019 synthesised psychedelic blues-rock album ‘Sound and Fury’ certainly divided opinion. However, ‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music’ was a much more widely appreciated and lauded record, although no less radical in many respects. Following his debut of high quality, but fairly straightforward Jennings and Haggard style country, Simpson’s follow-up was a bolt from the blue and immediately set him apart from most of his contemporaries. This dude, it appeared, was anything but a conventional country singer. Yet at the heart of Simpson’s work are his songs, something that keeps him firmly rooted in the traditions of country music. Despite, the change in approach, the songs on the album retain a disciplined and ordered format. References to ‘trip-country’ owe more to Simpson’s exploration of spiritual and metaphysical themes in his lyrics, than to any improvisation or diversion from a solid song structure. ‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music’ is an important record, not only for announcing the emergence of a major new mover on the americana scene, but for opening up new avenues for country music, taking the genre on a journey forward to destinations previously unvisited, whilst simultaneously respecting and incorporating its true traditions.
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From buying my first record aged 10 and attending my first gig at 14, music has been a lifelong obsession. A proud native of Suffolk, I have lived in and around Manchester for the best part of 30 years. My idea of a perfect day would be a new record arriving in the post in the morning, watching Ipswich Town win in the afternoon followed by a gig and a pint with my mates at night,