Editors Note: Beer & Pig reader Rich Cicci, a music reviewer for the Weekender (out of Wilkes-Barre, PA), takes a look at one of Beer & Pig’s favorite artists, Surgill Simpson and his new album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.
Sturgill Simpson, whose second solo album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, was only recently released, is someone who has that skill. The songs on this album mix modern sounds with soulful country music expression.
The album opens up with “Turtles All the Way Down.” It’s a slow track, but it showcases the emotion of Simpson. The next track, “Life of Sin,” brings the tempo up with some exceptional classic guitar play. The sound is exactly what could have been heard in the classic honky tonks of yore. And actually this entire album would fit in well with that era.
One notable track is Simpson’s cover of “The Promise,” which was originally performed by the English new wave band When in Rome. He took an upper-mid tempoed, synthesizer-filled track, slowed it down, and turned it into a proper country ballad. By slowing it down, Sturgill was able to bring the emotion and weight of the lyrics out for the listener, thus making it his own (which is what the purpose of covering any song should be).
While Sturgill’s sound may fit that classic country genre, he isn’t afraid to progression. The album ends with “It Ain’t All Flowers.” It’s filled with distortion and psychedelic rock notes, and it’s just as stellar as the more traditional country tracks that have come before. Does it stand in complete contrast to the other tracks musically? Yes, but not lyrically. This track ends the album perfectly. This album is about sounding traditional while still being modern, or “metamodern” in this case, and it does so exceedingly well.
Sturgill Simpson “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”