The world has been waiting for more news on Sturgill Simpson’s third album and today we have received it. Simpson sat down for a short interview today on the Beats 1 show with Zane Lowe to discuss his next upcoming album, the first under major label Atlantic Records. Simpson said in the interview that his next album’s name will be A Sailor’s Guide To Earth. He told Lowe the following about the album and what he wanted to do with it:
“I wanted to express a lot of influences outside of country music, I think there’s a lot of room to explore in terms of sonic templates in the genre. If there was any intentional approach it was that I wanted to sort of reverse engineer the song craft this time around. In country music especially, it can get very formulaic. You have to have your verses and a chorus but a lot of these songs were written as plain and simple poetry on the road. I decided I was going to frame those poems to music in the studio.”
Simpson went on to say in the interview that he didn’t want to make another psychedelic country record like he did with Metamodern Sounds in Country Music because it was already done. He said the main influences behind making this album was about finding his place in the world right now and the birth of his son. In other words, this isn’t anything like his first two albums as I expected. But that wasn’t all he shared. Simpson shared the first track off of it, titled “Brace for Impact (Live A Little).” You can hear it now by clicking here.
When the song gets formally released as a single and available for purchase to all we will conduct a formal review of it. For now though there’s definitely some things to talk about. Once you listen to the song yourself you’ll hear that it is different sonically from his first two albums, though it’s most certainly not bad. I’m already seeing whining and complaining from country fans that this isn’t what they wanted and to them I have nothing but laughter towards them. Where have you been? If you’ve been paying attention to Sturgill’s interviews or have actually followed his career, you knew this album was going to be different from the other two. First because Simpson has hinted pretty strongly it would be different and secondly because this is the kind of artist Sturgill Simpson is. He’s not satisfied making the same music over and over. He wants to go into the studio and make something new and fresh every time. Simpson is making the music he wants to make, not what you want him to make. And at the end of the day this is what we should want from every artist because when you start forcing artists into a box the creative output dips in quality (see a lot of mainstream country acts).
Another thing you should keep in mind with this song and this album from Simpson is waiting to hear the whole thing. Simpson is undoubtedly an “album artist.” When people discuss Simpson’s music, it’s usually about whole albums and not singles. Each song on his album is part of one big story and must be examined in that context to be judged fairly, as Metamodern Sounds in Country Music showed us. I know this is coming off as a pleading defense, but I just find it ridiculous to see so many already dismissing the album based off one song.
Also remember Dave Cobb is still onboard with Sturgill, which should be another reassurance to you that this will turn out fine. Keep the faith and don’t start blurting sell out.
Correction: Dave Cobb did not produce this record according to his new interview in The Fader. Here’s what Cobb had to say when asked if he’s producing Simpson’s new record:
We started a new record in January, and, you know, he’d just got off tour. We’re gonna try to go back in the summer. Our schedules didn’t line up, we just made some demos. He produced his upcoming one all by himself. It’s a real personal record. He’s a genius. He really is.
Whenever there’s more information on the album we’ll be sure to post about it. You can also check out the cover art for the album at Saving Country Music, which looks fantastic I might add. And be sure to weigh in below with your thoughts on the new song “Brace for Impact” and the new album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.
Update 3/4: As shown on iTunes, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth will be out on April 15 and is ready for pre-order. If you pre-order it now you will get an instant download of “Brace for Impact.” Here’s the track listing:
- Welcome To Earth (Polywog)
- Breakers Roar
- Keep It Between The Lines
- Sea Stories
- In Bloom
- Brace for Impact (Live a Little)
- All Around You
- Oh Sarah
- Call to Arms