Top 10 Sturgill Simpson Songs

Sturgill Simpson Songs

Our top 10 Sturgill Simpson songs list presents the music of an American singer-songwriter famed for his country and bluegrass music influence. Born in 1978, Sturgill Simpson comes from a family with no musical background. His zeal towards music led him to form a country/rock band in 2004 under the moniker Sunday Valley. After some while, Sturgill Simpson started focusing on a career at a railroad freight shipping yard.

However, his friends and wife kept taking him back to his music hobby. They would convince him to invest more time in his music career since it seemed promising. Eventually, Sturgill Simpson started playing music in local gigs. Sturgill Simpson returned to Sunday Valley, where he was involved in the recording and release of an album. However, the band separated in 2012.

Sturgill Simpson dared to go solo, a move that catapulted him to success. He released his first studio album, High Top Mountain (2013), the following year. High Top Mountain (2013) was produced by Dave Comb, best recognized for his work with John Prine, Jason Isbell, and Brandi Carlile. The album’s sound was compared to music by music by country musician Waylon Jennings.

Sturgill Simpson released his sophomore album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music in 2014. The album has been hailed as one of the releases that strike a balance between conservatism and liberal ways of processing thoughts. One of the musical gems from Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (2014) is the hit “Turtles All the Way Down.” The sophomore album brought Sturgill Simpson to new levels of success, having it nominated for Grammy Award in the Best Americana Album. However, it lost the award to The River & the Thread (2014) by Rosanne Cash.

Most of the best Sturgill Simpson songs are his original composition. However, Sturgill Simpson has also conquered the music scene with a few covers. One of his best covers is “The Promise,” a 1987 song originally released by the synth-pop/new wave band, When in Rome. This cover was featured on one of the episodes of the supernatural drama TV series The Leftovers.

Sturgill Simpson went back to the studio for the recording of his third studio album. A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (2016) featured several of the best Sturgill Simpson songs, including the cover to Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” “Breakers Roar,” and “Brace for Impact (Live a Little). The album was nominated for the Album of the Year and Best Country Album in the 2017 Grammy Awards ceremony. A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (2016) won Sturgill Simpson his first Grammy for the Best Country Album.

While this might have been one of his most successful, Sturgill Simpson had a different notion about it. He saw 2017 as his time to connect with his wife and children. However, the win saw him go on tour (something he was talked into), opening for Guns N’ Roses several times. Sadly, the effects of depression and substance abuse were hard on him during the tour. Nevertheless, he finished his tour and reconnected with his family.

Sturgill Simpson released his fourth album, Sound & Fury (2019), under Elektra Records. Sturgill Simpson departed from his signature country roots in the fourth album, spicing his songs with blues, funk, psychedelic, and hard rock elements. Sound & Fury (2019) was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Rock Album category. This made Sturgill Simpson the first artist to get a nomination for the Best Country Album and Best Rock Album. However, the album lost the Best Rock Album award to The New Abnormal (2020) by The Strokes.

As 2019 came to an end, Kesha released the track “Resentment,” which featured Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson, and Wrabel. Since 2020, Sturgill Simpson has released three more studio albums under his own record label, High Top Mountain. All of the albums prominently feature bluegrass music. Here are the top 10 Sturgill Simpson songs sampled from his seven studio albums.

#10 – Remember to Breathe

Opening our top 10 Sturgill Simpson songs is the hit “Remember to Breathe.” The song is featured on Sturgill Simpson’s fourth studio album, Sound & Fury (2019). “Remember to Breathe” is penned from the perspective of a person crushing so hard twilight girls. However, the emotional numbness when he goes out at night can easily be felt. Other artists who have a song under the same title (but different lyrics) include Owen Campbell and Dashboard Confessional.

#9 – Life Ain’t Fair and the World is Mean

We all have different notions about the nature of life and the world we live in. Sturgill Simpson gave his perception about the same, quoting how life is not fair, and how the world remains mean. “Life Ain’t Fair and the World is Mean” is one of the best releases from his debut album, High Top Mountain (2013). When he mentions his daddy being a highwayman, this alludes to his father, who was a state policeman. However, this is also metaphoric for The Highwaymen, a country supergroup that inspired his country music career.

#8 – The Dead Don’t Die

Our number eight song on the top 10 Sturgill Simpson songs list is the classic country hit “The Dead Don’t Die.” Delivered in overly sentimental guitar licks, “The Dead Don’t Die” is the theme song to the 2019 zombie comedy film of the same title. The film features reputable musicians Iggy Pop and Selena Gomez. Sturgill Simpson is also an actor, just like his fellow country artist Jason Isbell.

#7 – Call to Arms

Sturgill Simpson delivers a magnificent country rocker under the title, “Call to Arms.” The song is featured on A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (2016). In this song, Sturgill Simpson talks about racism and terrorism, among other evils that have been the talk of each day. “Call to Arms” finds the country singer bemoaning the current state of the world, a place that his generations will call home. The song features some awe-inspiring horns that add glamor to its overall feel.

#6 – Sing Along

Number six on our top 10 Sturgill Simpson songs is the hit “Sing Along.” The song is featured on Sturgill Simpson’s album Sound & Fury (2019). This energetic rocker finds Sturgill Simpson slightly departing from his usual country vocals. “Sing Along” allows Sturgill Simpson to make his mark as one of the few country musicians who delivered a blistering rock and roll album.

#5- Turtles All the Way Down

“Turtles All the Way Down” is a musical gem from Sturgill Simpson’s sophomore studio album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (2014). The song’s title is inspired by the concept of infinite regress in Indian philosophy. Its lyrics allude to psychedelic experiences as influenced by the use of drugs such as DMT, LSD, and marijuana.

#4- Brace for Impact (Live a Little)

Number four on our top 10 Sturgill Simpson songs is the hit “Brace for Impact (Live a Little).” The song is featured on the country singer’s third studio album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (2016). “Brace for Impact (Live a Little)” sonically feels like his blues-rock ballad “Sugar Daddy.” The song brings to Sturgill Simpson’s audience some existentialist perspective of life. This is made possible by pointing out wakefulness about our mortality as the foundation towards living a passionate life.

#3- The Promise

The best Sturgill Simpson songs not only feature his original songs but his career-defining cover songs too. One of his best cover songs is “The Promise.” The song was originally released by When in Rome in 1987. Sturgill Simpson featured this cover song on his outlaw country sophomore album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (2014).

#2- A Good Look 

“A Good Look” is one of the best Sturgill Simpson songs from Sound & Fury (2019). The song is a perfect example of how Sturgill Simpson uses juxtaposition throughout this blues rock and psychedelic rock-influenced album. “A Good Look” is an upbeat melodic hit that finds the country singer criticizing the spiteful nature of celebrity life.

#1- In Bloom

Number one on our top 10 Sturgill Simpson songs list is the hit “In Bloom.” The song is featured on his Grammy Award-winning album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (2016). “In Bloom” is an original song penned by Kurt Cobain and released on Nirvana’s sophomore album Nevermind (1991). Sturgill Simpson revealed that covering this song was his way to pay homage to multi talented artist Kurt Cobain. 

Photo: Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock

Top 10 Sturgill Simpson Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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