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Sturgill Simpson - You Can Have the Crown
Aug 23, 2013
Total plays:
56 times
Why do we like this?
Listeners, are you ready for some hard-mountain country? I don't even know what that is, bear with me, we're all learning here. This excerpt, in reference to Sturgill Simpson's latest album High Top Mountain, might help:

"From furious honky-tonk and pre-outlaw country-rocking to spellbinding bluegrass pickin' to emotional balladry, the album serves as something of a one-stop guide to everything that made real country music such a force to be reckoned with before the onset of today's more polished, mutated version of the genre."

It's rare that I feel totally inadequate as a music blogger, but I'm afraid I've met my match. Pre-outlaw country? Furious honky-tonk? It's like learning a new language, but I like a challenge so bring it on Sturgill Simpson -- time to dosey doe.

Had I not met Sturgill during a brief stint in Nashville, I probably wouldn't be brave enough to expose Indie Shuffle to this breed of country, but there was magic in watching Simpson perform and there was magic in the man himself.

During my stay there, I witnessed this thing called honky-tonk. There were nights I found myself surrounded by people swinging in that honky-tonk way, amidst a flurry of furious guitar picking and three part harmonies; where ladies would sit in waiting on the sidelines for any random partner to swoop them up for a dance. I began to understand the welcoming porch-side manor of a banjo, the novelty of being an expert at an instrument, but most of all, I was struck by how diminished "ego" was in the country community. Whispers from the lips of gossip did mention that "ego" was completely nonexistent in Nashville before the rock stars moved in (aka Jack White and The Black Keys) but uh, who am I to be spreading gossip. Psssh. That's so high school.

With even more of a battle to maintain position in an industry full of cocky (albeit very talented) meatheads, there's a hell of a lot more valor in choosing to buck those trends. Sturgill Simpson is refusing to succumb to the fakery, rather, he's unapologetically his own person -- a down-to-earth Kentucky-born boy with bluegrass in his heart. He's a warm human being with real problems, a rad wife, a sweet dog, and true talents. Also, he's got a frightening knife collection and, get this, a "zombie kit" packed and ready in his closet, just in case, Bruce Campbell style. No joke.

With High Top Mountain, Sturgill sought to make "the purest, most uncompromising, hard country album anyone has made in 30 years." He wanted it to sound like the old country records. To do this Simpson and producer Dave Cobb assembled a crew of old players and dug down deep into the essence of country. 

"I'm trying to pay homage to my family and where I'm from, and to plasticize or make that shit glittered up would be completely disrespectful. I've made so many mistakes in my life, and there are things I have to live with, so I didn't want to let this be another one." 

Sturgill debuts at the Grand Ole Opry this Friday and from what I've learned watching Coal Miner's Daughter, I think that's a pretty big deal. You can listen to the whole album via Bandcamp and be sure to give him a follow on Facebook.
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