Sturgill Simpson released his third album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, on April 15 2016. This nine-track album shows Simpson’s versatility and his ability to create his own sound that is not simply defined by a specific genre. This album is very personal to Simpson and is dedicated to his wife and first-born son, where each song offers different life lessons.
On the opening track, “Welcome to Earth” he sings, “When I get home, it breaks my heart seeing how much you’ve grown all on your own,” suggesting that due to all the time he has spent on the road he feels guilty. He furthers this point by saying, “and if sometimes daddy has to go away, please don’t think it means I don’t love you.” These heartfelt lines showcased on the opening track are carried throughout the entire album.
Simpson covers Nirvana’s “In Bloom” in an R&B style that sounds surprisingly beautiful. Simpson’s gritty voice brings a completely new perspective to the song than originally presented by Kurt Cobain.
My personal favorite song off of this album is “Brace for Impact (Live a Little)” because it simply suggests living life with a passion. Being a college student, it is easy to become distracted. However, this song works as a reminder of the importance in appreciating the most present moment.
This is album is a personal story about self-realization that is best heard in one sitting. My favorite piece of advice that Simpson offers is on “Call to Arms” where he sings, “I hope you don’t grow up believing that you have to be a puppet to be a man.” While some of these life lessons may be viewed as corny, there is something beautiful in the authentic way they are presented throughout the album. Overall, I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys listening to songs with grit.
Photo courtesy of Sturgill Simpson