You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.


Sturgill Simpson, ‘High Top Mountain’

Continue reading below

From its first notes, chock-full of piercing steel guitar and a pronounced Waylon Jennings boom-chick beat, there’s no doubt Sturgill Simpson’s debut follows his intention to make “the purest, most uncompromising, hard country album anyone has made in 30 years.” Simpson seems particularly fond of a classic outlaw sound, even as he goes out of his way to disavow outlaw posturing: “the most outlaw thing I’ve ever done is to give a good woman a ring,” he sings on the album’s get-over-it leadoff, “Life Ain’t Fair and the World Is Mean.” He’s got a powerful, slurry singing voice that really puts the moan in his material, and he’s a fine songwriter with a penchant for making art out of his own life — paying tribute to his grandfather (“Hero”), portraying the vanishing coal-mining way of life in which he grew up (“Old King Coal”), and dishing up a hilarious lament about the musician’s life (“You Can Have the Crown”). If you’re partial to old-school country, Sturgill Simpson is a newcomer worth keeping an eye on. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “You Can Have the Crown”

Stuart Munro can be reached at
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of