The New LoFi

Ten Years

Sturgill Simpson

We don’t typically cover country music on The New LoFi but guys like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson transcend genres, generations, geography and time. They’re such an integral part of American music that I doubt you’d find a musician or an educated music fan that would turn their nose up at them. Fast forward from those classic country music days to 2014 and Nashville has almost become the new “hip hop” of mainstream music. Hell, Hootie and Jimmy Buffet are now making country music?! To me, much of the current Nashville sound is over produced with little heart or soul in the songs. Luckily, there are a few rare country artists that pay close homage to the greats and tap into them more than they do to the glitz and glam of the current Nashville scene.

One artist that really stands out to me is Kentucky born twanger Sturgill Simpson. Give him a listen – it’s hard not to hear the influence that the country greats had on him. But going beyond the sound, his lyrics also stand out. Instead of songs about tears in his beer, he is a poet that more closely aligns to Bob Dylan than he does Carrie Underwood or Kenny Chesney. I think the name of his latest album says a lot, “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”. Pitchfork put it well when they wrote “[Sturgill] is a quester, intrigued by the metaphysics of spiritual experience and wondering aloud if the Bible and a handful of ‘shrooms will lead you to the same religious epiphany.” This dude is going deep …

Here are a few lines from the track Turtles All The Way Down … 

I’ve seen Jesus play with flames in a lake of fire that I was standing in
Met the devil in Seattle and spent 9 months inside the lions den
Met Buddha yet another time and he showed me a glowing light within

There’s a gateway in our mind that leads somewhere out there beyond this plane
Where reptile aliens made of light cut you open and pull out all your pain
Tell me how you make illegal something that we all make in our brain
Some say you might go crazy but then again it might make you go sane

Marijuana, LSD, psilocybin, and DMT they all changed the way I see
But love’s the only thing that ever saved my life

Check out the videos for Turtles All The Way Down and his cover of When In Rome’s 80’s pop hit The Promise … These tracks may actually make you a little more of a country fan. If not, the entire album is embedded below via bandcamp. Give that a try too …