Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain

sturgill-simpson-high-top-mountainSturgill Simpson is a refreshing throwback of country music purity and goodness.  Whereas Jason Eady’s fantastic AM Country Heaven album was a tribute to the music of yesteryear, Simpson’s High Top Mountain sounds like something that was unearthed from  the vaults of the famed Hillbilly Central Studio in Nashville.  The energy, sound and production is all vintage without losing any modern punch.  Simpson’s voice recalls inflections and timbres of many 70’s favorites while maintaining its originality.  This is traditional country music done right.

If you have ever jammed a Gary Stewart record under the influence or let the Waylon beat rattle your truck windows, then this record’s for you.  There is nothing slick here.  There are references to booze, pills, cheating, lying and reverence for the U.S. military…all in one song (“You Can Have the Crown”).  Even on the ballads such as “The Storm”, Simpson’s intensity never wanes.  He has a double barrels blazing authenticity even at his most introspective like on “Time After All”.  But, Simpson is clearly at his best when he’s thumping along just this side of out of control such as on “Poor Rambler” and “Life Ain’t Fair and the World Is Mean”. The album closer is the most genuine sounding cover of Steve Fromholz’s “I’d Have to Be Crazy” since Willie’s; Simpson turns it into some sort of twisted Baptist hymn.  Brilliant.

There are no songs about trucks, bonfires or tractors.  Just old school country music with themes of hell-raisin’, heartbreak and redemption.  A must have album.  Without question, this is an early candidate for record of the year…and we must get Sturgill Simpson down to Texas immediately.

THE DROP–Sturgill Simpson – “Life Ain’t Fair and The World Is Mean

BUY High Top Mountain at LSM!

Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

26 thoughts on “Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain

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  • June 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm
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    Brad,
    How ironic. I was driving into work today listening to this record, and it got me thinking to myself, “I bet the folks over on Galleywinter who love guys like Jason Eady, Boland, and 1100 Springs will really dig Sturgill Simpson”.

    I was hoping you guys would pick up on this outstanding record. The best country album since last year’s Jason Eady release in my opinion.

    It really makes my day, because I tend to lean in the musical direction of Simpson/Eady/Boland these days. Of course I love some nasty rock n roll like The Departed, Uncle Lucius, and Quaker City Nighthawks. But at the end of the day, nothing replaces solid country gold in my heart. Two thumbs way up for this kick ass country record.

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