When we last checked in on Sturgill Simpson we lamented that Los Angeles was never much of a country town. If you move a little further out of LA county you’ll run into the wannabe cowboys of Simi Valley and Moorpark eventually, and there is some bleed over from the rest of the southwest but in general we’re more of a hip-hop/alt rock city first and foremost. Well in the time since then, something must have changed because we’ve got country rock superstar Sturgill Simpson, and his protege/friend Tyler Childers playing one of the most important venues in all of Los Angeles.
This is only the next step in Simpson’s burgeoning popularity the world over, but he engenders a specific type of love in Southern California where his style of music is traditionally rejected. Simpson makes country music for people that don’t like country. While I’m sure this isn’t the way he looks at it, and it shouldn’t be, how it ultimately presents itself if more honest, more musically complex, and more engaging than the pop country fare that has dominated festivals like Stagecoach and Country Thunder as of late. Accordingly, those who are fans of indie rock and classic guitar rock have eaten it up.
Late last year, Simspon released Sound and Fury an album that marked a stylistic shift, and even came with an accompanying anime on Netflix. Where his previous albums were more in the realm of country ballads with long instrumental sections, Sound and Fury calls to mind ZZ Top before Johnny Cash. The resulting record was a sincere, loving homage to amplifier busting, ear shredding guitars and a dirty, down home rock sound. Of course, Simpson imbued enough of his own flavor into the record that is is uniquely him, and is sure to only gain him more fans.
With such a great career behind him. Simpson now turns forward towards the future, a future which includes a massive show at the Forum in the middle of may. Regardless of what albums and sounds may follow, it’s comforting to know that for at least one shining moment, a worthy torchbearer held the future of Country in his hands.
Location: The Forum
Address: 3900 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90305
Photo Credit – Sharon Alagna