Last night Sturgill Simpson performed his trad-country, psychedelic-tinged song about chemical enlightenment. As always, the man and his fantastic band, nailed it.
With appearances on David Letterman and Conan it’s becomes a of late night talk-show gauntlet by the reluctant savior of country music. It won’t be long before Sturgill Simpson is a household name.
With the money and the fame that’s sure to follow I’m sure Music Row will be (has been) whispering in his ear to join the big circus. And sponsors. There’s a beer and Wranglers rep out there just licking their lips to hitch their wagon to a shooting star.
I trust Simpson’s instincts and his focus on the music that’s brought his this far. He’s not a hit machine serving to print money for some label. He’s making music that matters, hits deep, and endures.
That makes Simpson an oddity. Turtles?! No hits?! No stylist?! The man is barely competent on social media! How is he showing up on the mainstream radar?
One thing that ties Letterman, Conan and Fallon together is their appreciation and championing of great music with little consideration to the flavor of the week.
Simpson has his eye on the long game.
The sound might ring of tradition, but the spirit of following your path is something that is timeless and takes guts and talent.
So Simpson shows up and plays ‘Turtles All the Way Down,’ ‘Living the Dream’ or ‘Life of Sin.” People hear something they probably haven’t heard on the radio or knew still existed.
Some wonder “Huh, There still is country music being made. Why haven’t I heard this guy?” or “Where’s the beats and the rock? This twangy shit sucks.”
Either way, like Neo in the Matrix, the curtain is lifted and reality is exposed. People are made aware. There is a choice to be made.
Red or blue pill?
if a listener or artist is unsure and unaware they are pliable. They listen to others and live in fear of what others think. It takes them away from the reason you started listening and playing music to begin with.
Simpson’s sets his camp right in his own territory and he scraps and fights with every song’s worth and beauty.
And we’re all fortunate that we’re there to share it with him.
So the money and salesmen are inevitable. But my faith is firm that Simpson will stay true to that spirit and personal vision. And he’ll show young musicians that you can trust your instincts, blaze a path, make a living and leave a mark.
I might not be “outlaw,” but’s it’s sure badass.