This story has been updated.
Two days after posting a cryptic image of skeleton’s sparring on his website and social network properties, Sturgill Simpson conducted a rare and exclusive 3-minute interview on Beats 1 Radio with Zane Lowe, and announced his upcoming 3rd studio solo album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. Sturgill also played a new song as part of the interview called “Brace For Impact,” and unveiled the official artwork for the album. Sturgill did not announce a release date for the album, but an iTunes pre-order showed up later in the day with a release date of April 15th.
“Well I approached the last record when it was finished, I kind of had this feeling that it might possibly destroy my career, and it did just the opposite,” Sturgill says in the interview. “So I figured if anything I had to sort of take the same fearlessness into the studio on this one as well. But really, there’s nothing intentional, it’s just a representation of where my heart and where my head were at the time when we went into the studio.”
As for what fans can expect from the new record, Sturgill says, “Like I’ve always said, I wanted to express a lot of other influences that are outside of country music, that I think there’s a lot of room to explore, in certain terms of sonic templates in the genre. If there was any intentional approach, I wanted to reverse engineer the songcraft. Country music especially can get very formulaic. You know, you have to have your verses and a bridge and a chorus, and a lot of the songs are written as just plain and simple poetry on the road. Then I decided I was going to frame those poems to music while in the studio.”
As for if the album will be a country record or not, Sturgill says,
“If you take a chance, and try to progess a little bit, which for me is what it’s all about you know. I had already made ‘Metamodern [Sounds in Country Music]’ so I didn’t want to make another psychedelic country record. But I’ve said it before: As soon as I open my mouth, it’s always going to be a country record … A lot of this record came from me figuring out my place in that world while it was all happening because it was such a sudden and intense transition around the same time that my son was born. I just wanted to do something really beautiful for him.”
You can listen to the full interview and the new song “Brace For Impact” below.
According to an new interview with The Fader with producer Dave Cobb, Sturgill Simson produced A Sailor’s Guide to Earth by himself.
“We started a new record in January, and, you know, he’d just got off tour,” Dave said. “We’re gonna try to go back in the summer. Our schedules didn’t line up, we just made some demos. He produced his upcoming one all by himself. It’s a real personal record. He’s a genius. He really is.”
As Sturgill Simpson fans wait for new music, they have already been delivered another new song. “Sugar Daddy” was selected as the theme song for HBO’s new series Vinyl, and was released in February as part of the soundtrack. According to the track list posted on iTunes, “Sugar Daddy will not be on A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. However it will contain a song from Sturgill’s Sunday Valley days called “Oh Sarah” that Sturgill regularly performs live, and a cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom.” The record is also said to feature bagpipes, and an appearance by the Dap Kings.
- Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)
- Breakers Roar
- Keep It Between the Lines
- Sea Stories
- In Bloom
- Brace for Impact (Live a Little)
- All Around You
- Oh Sarah
- Call to Arms
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Thanks to readers Judd and Ryan for help with info and artwork.