No one should be surprised by Sturgill Simpson moody ode to Nirvana. Similar to his take on the 80s pop band cut “When In Rome’s ‘The Promise’ off ‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” Simpson turns the Grunge master’s ode to artistic misunderstanding into something wholly his own while giving due respect to the original.
There’s much here to divide critics, like your truly. “Sugar Daddy,” is title track for HBO’s ‘Vinyl’ and the crunchy first cut released “Brace for Impact (Live a Little)” from the upcoming “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth’ (April 15th) seems like pedestrian rock band fodder in relation to his honky-tonk mastery.
But there’s something fully realized about his cover of “In Bloom.” True to it’s predecessor’s aesthetic it’s stripped down to the essence letting his signature baritone hang the lyrics on the bones of the familiar melody. There’s a shade of twang in the cry of the pedal steel and features a Motown horn section that elevates the familiar cut into into something etherial. As a fan of Sturgill Simpson and the psychologically dark imagery of illustrator/director Matt Mahurin the video is a special treat.
Of Nirvana’s pivotal Grunge masterpiece Simpson says “I remember in seventh or eighth grade, when that album dropped, it was like a bomb went off in my bedroom. For me, that song has always summed up what it means to be a teenager, and I think it tells a young boy that he can be sensitive and compassionate—he doesn’t have to be tough or cold to be a man. So I wanted to make a very beautiful and pure homage to Kurt.”
What more could you expect from an ‘outlaw’ than someone not willing to follow the conventional career path?
“In Bloom” for his highly-anticipated forthcoming album, ‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.’