Metamodern Sounds in Country Music is the second album from Kentucky native Sturgill Simpson it's an album that takes you on a refreshing journey where country meets blissed out psychedelia and the defiance and spirit of the 70's outlaw movement. This album is a breath of fresh air against the pallid play it safe sounds coming out of corporate Nashville, it reminds us of the best elements of country music the ability to tell a tell with honesty and true grit. You couple with that the fact that this guy could sing the phone book and have you mesmerised, Sturgill has a powerful throat. There is a weariness and cynicism in the songs, that life isn't quite all it's cracked up to be and what we were promised and told was all a falsehood.
Turtles All the Way Down extols the virtues of seeing the landscape of life through an altered lens, even though mind altering substances might lead to important questions it might not lead to revealing answers but he puts the case for the freedom to try. At the end of the day love's the only thing that truly resonates within a life. It also call into question blind faith in religion, once a bastion of old time country that was sung about only in revered tones. It's a song that harkens back to the early 70's outlaw sound pioneered by the likes of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson but Sturgill gently bends the song with ghostly echoing vocals.
Every time I take a look inside that old and fabled book
I'm blinded and reminded of the pain caused by some old man in the sky
Marijuana, LSD, psilocybin and DMT they all changed the way I see
But love's the only thing that ever saved my life.
Living the Dream with all it's cynicism and hopelessness still has a defiance about it, the idea that if you want you can just sit around and wait to die.
Time and again Lord I keep going through the motions
A means to an end but the ends don't seem to meet
Walking around living the dream anytime I take the notion
Til the truth comes bubbling up so bittersweet.
Long White Line is a great trucker song harking back to the likes of Dave Dudley, classic country tale girl is gone so why not hit the road and try and find the end of the long white line, from New York City to ole St Joe and on to New Mexico. Not content to revel in the past Sturgill makes the road one that twists and bends with a stretched out droning guitar. Sturgill also shows his voice is more than suited to a ballad, The Promise is great sounding like it was cut in the early 70's maybe at Quadraphonic in Nashville with those crisp sounding rim shots on the snare just drifting off into space. It's one of those tear jerking country tunes that make you think of George Jones and Faron Young etc and this sits comfortably with their best tear jerkers. Looking forward to seeing how far he continues to push the boundaries on future albums.