10 Years Ago Today, Sturgill Simpson Released His Groundbreaking Album ‘Metamodern Sounds In Country Music’

Sturgill Simpson
Sturgill Simpson

One of the most groundbreaking albums in country music.

Today we are celebrating a decade of Sturgill Simpson‘s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. On this day in 2014, the album produced by iconic prodcuer Dave Cobb would change the perspective of country music among fans.

As Simpson’s second album, some of the fans’ favorite songs and some of his biggest hits live on this tracklist, like “Turtles All The Way Down,” “Life Of Sin,”  and “Long White Line.”

In the height of 2014, “bro-country,” Sturgill saw this as a chance to break the mold of cookie-cutter looks and lyrics, creating a project unlike anything on country radio at that point. With a title inspired by Ray Charles’ boundary-pushing 1962 album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Simpson resonated with testing the waters and reversing time, taking the sound back to its traditional roots.

The result was a project that amplified what country music started as, and while not immediately, signaled the beginning of the end for the bro-country era of mainstream country music. Stu essentially picked the lock, and Chris Stapleton’s Traveller, launched by a CMA Awards duet with Justin Timberlake of all people, flung the door wide open for a whole new world of non-mainstream country music (AKA really good country music) to come to the forefront. Flashforward to today, we have non-mainstream acts like Tyler Childers, Billy Strings, Turnpike Troubadours, Zach Bryan, Charley Crockett, Whiskey Myers, Cody Jinks and more playing for massive crowds and earning Gold and Platinum certifications.

The album was nominated during the 57th Grammy Awards for Best Americana Album. While he did not take home the Grammy for this album, this nomination was huge for independent artists then. Simpson became a poster child a decade ago for outlaw music, moving the pendulum back toward a more traditional sound.

And while Stu wasn’t exactly trying to start a revolution, that’s what happened:

“That was a conversation that a lot of people really wanted to start and have. And they needed a poster boy for this side of the coin. A lot of those interviews were straight-up performance art.”

Simpson said in 2021 to Rolling Stone. While Simpson remains humble about changing the trajectory of country music with this album, he solidified his place as a modern-day outlaw pioneer.

“I’m really lucky nobody else wrote a song about turtles and drugs in 2014.” 

Happy birthday, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, and cheers to another decade of this well-loved album. Celebrate the way Sturgill suggested when announcing the re-release of the album.

“Celebrate that pivotal birthday like you did, in our case some sloppy little Ceasars pizza, swapping your favorite new cuss words you learned on the bus with your dumbass friends at Chris’ house then accidently shoot your dad’s truck with your new bb gun.”

Fire up some Stu.

“Long White Line”

“Life Of Sin”

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STAY ENTERTAINED

A RIFF ON WHAT COUNTRY IS REALLY ABOUT

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