Sturgill Simpson became the face of 21st century outlaw country, a self-styled maverick who didn't follow the rules of either modern or classic country. High Top Mountain, his 2013 debut, recalled the brawny swagger of Waylon Jennings, but by the time he released its sequel, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, the following year, it was clear that Simpson wasn't limited to either country or Americana. The neo-psychedelic undertones within the title and music of Metamodern Sounds in Country Music only hinted at the stylistic ground the singer/songwriter would cover. A Sailor's Guide to Earth, an arty concept album from 2016, incorporated soul and symphonic pop in a manner so audacious it helped snare him a Grammy for Best Country Album in 2017, a win that solidified his position at the vanguard of Americana and roots rock. Though he'd ...
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