Sturgill Simpson is setting up a limited-run tour to support an important cause. Produced by Simpson, ‘SOUND & FURY,’ the album, was recorded primarily at the McGuire Motor Inn in Waterford, Michigan, with his bandmates Bobby Emmett, Chuck Bartels, Miles Miller, who all serve as co-producers along with GRAMMY nominee John Hill (Cage The Elephant, Man, Bleachers).
Tickets for Simpson’s six club shows go on sale Wednesday (Sept. 25) at 10AM local time. All of the proceeds from the concerts will be donated to the Special Forces Foundation , a nonprofit that provides resources and support for members of the United States military’s Special Forces and their families.
This year’s 10th Annual CMT Artists of the Year special highlights the entire year of country music, and honors this year’s artists: Carrie Underwood, Dan + Shay, Kane Brown, Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett.
It was also part of a fairly elaborate rollout for the new album, which comes accompanied by a Netflix film that sets Simpson’s songs to anime sequences overseen by some of Japan’s most respected directors. Since he finished recording Sound & Fury,” the singer has gotten deeper into movies, acting in Jim Jarmusch’s recent The Dead Don’t Die ” and in the upcoming Queen & Slim ” opposite Daniel Kaluuya.
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth is Simpson’s third full-length album and follows his break-through, Grammy-nominated 2014 release, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music. Beloved by critics and fans, the record was featured on year-end best of” lists at The New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Village Voices’ Pazz and Jop, Rolling Stone Country, NPR Music, American Songwriter, Stereogum, the Los Angeles Times, KCRW, Pitchfork, The Washington Post and many others.
Simpson, 41, moved away from this stretch of Appalachia when he was 7, but its ethic and spirit remain bone-deep in him. It’s where he watched his family play music, at a friend’s house with a stage built into the living room. Where he first picked up his grandfather’s guitar. Where he learned to hold a grudge.
Rather than make the film directly autobiographical, Simpson created a hyperreal world of evil: hegemonic structures, politics, corruption, greed — you know, things that usually lead to really expletive music,” he said. Basically, we made ‘Yojimbo’ set in a dystopian future,” he explained, referring to the 1961 samurai film.
The Sound & Fury album cover features a car, drawn in anime style, driving away from a massive cloud of fire erupting within a cityscape. The album’s title appears in the top left corner, in a Japanese character-influenced font.
Formerly the leader of Sunday Valley, an energetic roots outfit that made some waves in the early years of the new millennium, Sturgill Simpson gained greater renown as a solo artist, thanks in large part to his muscular 2013 solo debut High Top Mountain. An outlaw country record in form and feel – its debt to Waylon Jennings clear and unashamed – High Top Mountain became a word-of-mouth hit in 2013, thereby establishing Simpson’s country credentials and opening the door to a wider future.
Two ways after the new album arrives, Simpson will play relatively small venues between Los Angeles and New York. Whether this is an intentional statement of purpose or not, spots like The Black Cat in Washington, DC are associated with punk rock, not country music or Americana.
The rationale suited a songwriter whose 2016 album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” pondered the joy and the pain of fatherhood on its way to winning a Grammy Award for country album. What the explanation left out, though, was that Simpson, 41, also seemed to need an escape from his own success — from its encouragement of a simplistic view of his music and from the expectations it created for whatever he chose to do next.
Sound & Fury’s opening track, Ronin,” kicks off with trudging footsteps, a quick spin through a car-radio dial, and a roaring engine that dead-ends into a lengthy, blazing guitar solo, the muscle and grit and studly lost-highway ambiance recalling nothing so much as Queens of the Stone Age’s 2002 hard-rock masterpiece Songs for the Deaf (QOTSA is a major influence here, both the extra-robotic old stuff and extra-funky newer stuff) While this guitar solo rages on, the Netflix anime flick also out Friday, if you were curious, kicks off with a leering villain in a fancy suit invading a monastery with a pistol and blowing the heads off various monks and whatnot, all while spraying clouds of nefarious purple mist about. It’s pretty rad and absolutely, gloriously baffling.
Sturgill Simpson announced he will release his fourth studio album, Sound & Fury, this fall. The new album will be released in conjunction with an anime film of the same name that will be available via Netflix. Sturgill revealed the news at San Diego’s Comic-Con over the weekend.
A native of Jackson, Kentucky and raised near Lexington, Simpson has deep southern roots, but he moved out west once he reached his late teens. In 2004, he formed Sunday Valley, receiving a big break when they played Portland, Oregon’s Pickathon Festival in 2011. Sturgill went solo in 2012, beginning work on the album that became High Top Mountain, which appeared the following year.
Sturgill Simpson is back with a new album, Sound & Fury , along with an anime film of the same name. Stream the album below via Apple Music and Spotify, and watch the film on Netflix.
Enter Sound and Fury, which is simultaneously the most left-field, decisively non-country offering of Simpson’s career and precisely the record anyone who has been paying any attention to his career over the last several years would have expected him to make. Over ten songs, Simpson leads his tight-knit rock quartet through a super-charged flow of indignant Southern Rock (Fastest Horse in Town”), strutting disco-boogie (Sing Along”), and pulsing modern blues (Best Clockmaker on Mars”) that do away with the typical melodic, structural conventions of country and folk. A sleazy synth-rock dance record,” he’s called it.
In addition to the Making Music in Graphic Novels” panel, Simpson will also appear at NYCC’s “Sound & Fury: Creators of Animatrix and Batman Ninja Unite for Sturgill Simpson” panel on Oct. 5 at 2:45pm in Room 1A24.
Listeners hungry for Sturgill Simpson’s familiar croon better keep feasting on the old stuff — because the Kentucky songwriter’s new album trades country comfort for all-out helping of rock ‘n’ roll grime.
Given Simpson’s previously noted unbiddable nature – and indeed Sound & Fury’s preponderance of lyrics that wrestle unhappily with the fame occasioned by A Sailor’s Guide to Earth’s success and with the machinations of the music industry, or as Mercury in Retrograde puts it, hypocrites building brands” – you do wonder if announcing that his new album is influenced by a foppish glam idol who made virtually no commercial impact in the US and an androgynous British synthpop revivalist doesn’t come with a gleeful side-order of screw-you to the country establishment. Whatever the reason, he’s not kidding, as evidenced by single Sing Along: a wall of crunching glam guitars and fizzing analogue synths, underpinned by a frantic four-to-the-floor disco beat, with a vague hint of the drum machine-driven fuzz found on ZZ Top’s Eliminator stirred into the mix.
Wow, this is a brave move. After stints working for the US navy and the Union Pacific Railroad, Sturgill Simpson has spent the past half decade on an inexorable rise as a star of outlaw country music. There he could have reasonably been expected to stay, but instead he has thrown a grenade into his career with this wild mish-mash of dirty blues, 1980s heartland rock, electronic squeaks and (cover your eyes, country fans) hi-energy disco.
This time around, Simpson bridges his music and his recent interest in other forms of media with two related projects capable of introducing his work to fandoms beyond those of country music and Americana. Read on to learn more details about the project.
Sturgill Simpson’s third studio album, 2015’s A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, became his first to crack the Top 5, debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The album also topped the Top Country Albums chart.
Does anyone remember a review, written some years ago now, where a super Christian guy was really critical of Sturgill singing about drugs etc. in Country music? He made the point that the devil was in his music or something.
But the brawny southern soul and jam-band signifiers of A Sailor’s Guide should have put all that talk about outlaw country” to bed. Instead, he was awarded a Grammy for Best Country Album. So, now Simpson is back with Sound And Fury, which arrives Friday accompanied by an original Netflix anime film made with Kamikaze Douga animation studio founder Jumpei Mizusaki and Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki that Simpson has compared to the 1961 Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo, except set in a dystopian future. WTF, indeed.