As the opening track to Sturgill Simpson’s album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, “Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)” sets up an entire song cycle inspired by the birth of the singer-songwriter’s son. Yesterday on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Simpson got to perform the tune in style, backed by a full string ensemble and brass.
With its initial, buzzing cloud of strings and horns fading into a lullaby-style piano, “Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)” serves as a bridge between the country psychedelia of his second album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music and the more soulful explorations of A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. “How could I know that the answer was so easy,” he sings, the music swooning all around him and sweeping camera work of the gorgeous Warner Theater aiming to match the song’s thematic grandeur. For the second half of the performance, Simpson and band nimbly pivot to a Motown-style groove, accented by bright blasts of melody from the horn players.
Simpson, who recently found himself at the center of country’s longstanding authenticity debate, is currently headlining his Sailor’s Tour. The trek visits Ithaca, New York, and Cleveland in the next two days and also includes a pair of sold-out shows at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on October 28th and 29th.