Published on April 22nd, 2016 | by Craig Silliphant


SotW: Sturgill Simpson – In Bloom

In The Feedback Society’s SotW (Song of the Week) we take a look at one track that has us hitting repeat over and over again.

Sturgill Simpson

‘In Bloom’

Album: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth


I have a strange relationship to country music. Actually, that’s bullshit. It’s not all that strange; it’s probably in line with how most other serious music lovers feel. I love old school country, from really old stuff to the outlaw country of Willie and Waylon — but I can’t stand the modern stuff. Unless, of course, it’s eschewing the whole mainstream garbage modern country sound to dig back to days gone by, artists like say, Daniel Romano. But what does that do to push the genre forward? Nothing, really. Revival stuff is great, but it’s barely keeping it afloat against the Toby Keith’s and Keith Urban’s of the world. But once in awhile, a guy like Sturgill Simpson comes along. While he’s often compared to Waylon Jennings, he also had the gumption to lasso the elements of what worked in good country music, hogtie it, and drag it on the back of a horse into the 21st century.

I really dug Simpson’s last album, ‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music,’ so when Feedback writer Dave Scaddan mentioned to me that there was a new album, I grabbed it right away. ‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth’ is Simpson’s third solo album, and it pushes the boundaries even further than ‘Metamodern Sounds.’ It’s a concept album, a letter to a newborn son, that revels in the vintage aesthetics of the 70s. Everything from Nashville to soul, while simultaneously still playing around with cosmic psychedelia, prog folk, and all points in between.  He might just be a bridge from the past to the future that paves the way for more artists to give legitimacy back to country music.

I haven’t fished around on the album enough yet to know which songs are coming out ahead for me; I’ve just been listening to it front to back, over and over again. So rather than choose the best track on the album, I’ll throw up an interesting one: In Bloom. Yes, that In Bloom, from Nirvana.  It’s starts out quiet and mumbly enough that you might not recognize it if it was just floating through the air near you, but as soon as that iconic chorus kicks in, you have instant recognition.  Yet, he takes Cobain’s song in interesting, melancholy new directions.

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is a D-level celebrity with delusions of grandeur. A writer, critic, creative director, editor, broadcaster, and occasional filmmaker, his thoughts have appeared on radio, television, in print, and on the web. He is a juror on the Polaris Music Prize and the Juno Awards. He loves Saskatoon. He has horrible night terrors and apocalyptic dreams.

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