Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor’s Guide To Earth: exudes a singular individualistic spirit

A Sailor's Guide To Earth
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Artist: Sturgill Simpson
Genre: Country
Label: Atlantic

The CMA awards were held recently in Los Vegas, a parade of Bro Country backslapping and white male rockist bonding.

There was no gong for Sturgill Simpson. No surprise there. Official Nashville long ago gave up paying any kind of notice to the margins, to the kind of challenging act like Simpson for whom music is more than a career choice.

And challenging he certainly is. His third album, prompted by the birth of his son but driven by sharper questions, pulses with brash, funky country-soul, his own formidable band going mano a mano with the muscular pin sharp brass of the Dap-Kings on riveting tracks such as Keep It Between the Lines, Braced for Impact and Call To Arms.

A reflective cover of Nirvana's In Bloom is among the softer options but, unleashed or restrained, Simpson exudes a singular individualistic spirit.