It’s fair to say that Sturgill Simpson won’t be issuing Metamodern Sounds in Country Music: Part Two for his upcoming full-length album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, his first release on Atlantic Records due April 15th.
Simpson revealed the album title and first single, titled “Brace for Impact (Live a Little),” this week on Apple’s Beats 1 with host Zane Lowe. Sonically it has much more in common with the fuzzed-out blues rock of “Sugar Daddy,” Simpson’s theme for HBO’s Vinyl, than the space-cowboy odysseys of Metamodern. Supported by funky splashes of electric piano and organ, Simpson lays out a simple, live-for-today message of kindness that closes with an extended instrumental coda of cascading electric guitars and a throbbing, synthetic bass groove. Listen to the song below.
“I wanted to reverse-engineer the songcraft this time around,” Simpson tells Lowe. “Country music especially can get very formulaic. You have to have your verses and bridge and chorus. A lot of the songs were written as plain and simple poetry on the road and I decided I was going to frame those poems to music while in the studio.”
Simpson tells Lowe he made A Sailor’s Guide to Earth for his son, and it represents the next steps in his musical evolution.
“If you take a chance and try to progress a little bit, which for me is what it’s all about — I already made Metamodern, so I didn’t want to make another psychedelic country record,” he says. “But as soon as I open my mouth, it’s always going to be a country record. You’re always a little nervous because people might expect more of the same or they might not be as willing to take the journey with you, but I think any of the true fans probably wouldn’t expect anything less.”