Sturgill Simpson, who burst into prominence in 2014 with his “alt-country” album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, has announced his follow-up effort, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. The new album will be released on April 15, and today Simpson shared a song, “Brace for Impact (Live a Little),” which you can listen to at the bottom of this post. Here’s what Simpson had to say about the album title, and its genesis, in a press release:
I really questioned whether I wanted to spend however many more years on this bus, not being there and seeing all that was happening. That’s where this record came from, just processing all that guilt and homesickness. I had to figure out a way to put that into music, so I decided to write the whole record from the perspective of a sailor going to sea and not knowing if he’s ever coming home.
I remembered an old letter that I read, written by my Grandfather Ora to my grandmother when he was in the Army. He was in the South Pacific during World War II, and he thought he was going to die. So he wrote a goodbye letter to her and their newborn son. He finally made it home five years later…
I knew I wanted to make a concept record in song-cycle form, like my favorite Marvin Gaye records where everything just continuously flows. I also wanted it to be something that when my son is older and maybe I’m gone, he can listen to it and get a sense of who I was. I just wanted to talk as directly to him as possible.
The album will include a cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” and he also discussed that choice in the press release:
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.
1. Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)
2. Breakers Roar
3. Keep It Between the Lines
4. Sea Stories
5. In Bloom
6. Brace for Impact (Live a Little)
7. All Around You
8. Oh Sarah
9. Call to Arms
Cover Art (wow):
And here’s “Brace for Impact (Live a Little),” the song released today:
The album was recorded at the Butcher Shoppe in Nashville, TN. David Ferguson was the engineer.