Back in 2018, during the Outlaw Music Festival stop in Mansfield, MA, Sturgill tossed his bluegrass twang to the side and threw together a killer rock medley highlighting his multifaceted talents. Sturgill is letting it RIP on the electric guitar from the jump as he kicks off this rock medley with Freddie King’s “Going Down.” The whole time during this track, you are glued to watching Simpson’s fingers quickly move up and down the neck of his guitar, and he plays the hell out of the complicated notes.
While “Going Down” doesn’t have much vocals, Simpson lets them out with loud growls.
Without missing a beat, he moves right into his own “Call To Arms,” and he keeps the high-energy rock and roll feel, blending the headbanging composition of “Going Down” into “Call To Arms,” giving it some more edge than usual. Even though this track, it’s beyond impressive seeing him play the quick-paced licks while keeping up vocally.
When you think he is going to call it after nearly 12 minutes of non-stop playing…think again. Simpson had one more in him and rolled from “Call To Arms” into T. Rex’s “The Motivator.”
Talk about a closer. He does not lose an ounce of energy through the final licks of the song, keeping the roaring guitar rips coming. Near the end, he is so in tune with his music that he is facing his amps, listening so intently to what they are creating; it is as if he is in a trance while performing.
While Sturgill Simpson has taken a back seat since his vocal cords ruptured in 2021, I hope he might return soon, given his Farm Aid appearance with Margo Price this year and other small pop-up performances here and there. While he might not be on stage as much, his presence in the industry is far from lacking with his production work…and not to forget his acting work with Righteous Gemstones.
However, if Simpson ever meandered his way back into a recording booth, I think another rock album, perhaps more traditional rock and roll than Sound & Fury, would be a killer way to come back.
If anyone ever tries to tell you rock and roll is dead… pull up this clip. It’s face-melting good.