Sturgill Simpson has remained on the road for most of the year, barking his way through a live set that veers from Bible Belt bluegrass to amplified, full-throttle psychedelia. It’s fitting, then, that most of those concerts have come to a close with a medley of the Osborne Brothers’ “Listening to the Rain” and T. Rex‘s “The Motivator,” two songs that represent the full span of Simpson’s influences.
“The Motivator” was originally released on T. Rex’s Electric Warrior, an album that helped push the glitter and glitz of glam rock into the mainstream. Decades later, it’s a reminder of an era where sleaze, swagger and sex ruled the roost, replacing the acoustic guitars of 1960s folk rock with something harder. That makes the song an odd choice for a country band perhaps, but Sturgill Simpson and his road band — whose lineup now includes two keyboardists — rip it to shreds, turning the tune into a stomping combo of Telecaster thunder and pounding percussion.
In the video above, the guys wrap up a September 15th show in eastern Virginia with their own version of “The Motivator.” After a four-minute guitar workout, Sturgill brings the song to a brief halt, walks over to drummer Miles Miller and playfully wipes the sweat off his head with a handkerchief. With that, the musicians launch back into the song for three glorious seconds, finishing everything off with a snippet of the song that began the medley: the Osbornes’ “Listening to the Rain.”
With a new album reportedly in the can and an ongoing tour that stretches through Thanksgiving, Simpson and company will keep themselves busy until 2016, when Simpson’s Atlantic debut is expected to hit stores.