Artist of the Week: Sturgill Simpson

3 December 2021 | 10:10 am | Mallory Arbour

CountryTown in partnership with iHeartCountry Australia is proud to announce singer-songwriter and actor, Sturgill Simpson as our Artist Of The Week.

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CountryTown in partnership with iHeartCountry Australia is proud to announce Sturgill Simpson as our Artist Of The Week, following the vinyl release of his album, The Ballad of Dood and Juanita.

Simpson was born in Jackson, Kentucky, but moved to Versailles, outside Lexington, as a teenager. After graduation, he spent three years in the United States Navy. He formed the country rock band Sunday Valley in 2004, played local mics and gigs, before moving to Nashville with his wife when the group disbanded in 2012.

He released his debut independent solo album, High Top Mountain a year later, with the album’s style being compared to that of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. 2014 was his breakout year, with the release of his Grammy-nominated Metamodern Sounds in Country Music album. The success of the album led to appearances of a handful of US talk shows (including his US network television debut on the Late Show with David Letterman), playing at the Grand Ole Opry as well as opening slots for Willie Nelson and Haggard.

His music stretches across genres and styles, from the psychedelic soul of 2016's A Sailor’s Guide To Earth (Grammy-nominated for ‘Album of the Year’ and winner for ‘Best Country Album’to the fuzzed-out rock attack of Sound & Fury in 2019, which was nominated for ‘Best Rock Album’. In 2020, Simpson returned to the music of his native Kentucky with two volumes of a bluegrass project, Cuttin' Grass. The albums saw him reimagining songs from across his catalogue backed by some of Nashville's finest acoustic virtuosos.

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He has challenged musical expectations—from recording with Kesha to touring with Guns n' Roses—and branched out into the world of film and television. After making his acting debut in the series $1, he has appeared in several movies, including Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die (for which he also wrote and performed the theme song), and he had a pivotal role in Melina Matsoukas’ award-winning Queen & Slim (2019). Simpson has just completed filming his role in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming movie Killers of the Flower Moon.

The Ballad of Dood and Juanita is Simpson’s third album in twelve months and was written and recorded in less than a week.  The record was inspired by Simpson’s grandfather and tells a classic American story of a Civil War-era couple torn apart by violence and reunited by love. 

“I just wanted to write a story—not a collection of songs that tell a story, but an actual story, front to back,” says Simpson. 

He also recently scored two 2022 Grammy nominations. The Ballad of Dood and Juanita is up for ‘Best Country Album’, while Cuttin' Grass, Vol. 1: The Butcher Shoppe Sessions is nominated for ‘Best Bluegrass Album’.

Keep up to date with Sturgill Simpson on his official website here.

For more Artist Of The Week features, including Sturgill Simpson, check out here.

Image: Supplied