Sounds Like: Merle Haggard with a stack of books on cosmology and metaphysics.
For Fans Of: Buck Owens, Gram Parsons, Jason Isbell, storytellers who make you say "I used to know a dude like that. Wonder when he's getting out of jail?"
Why You Should Pay Attention: Simpson's debut, last year's self-released High Top Mountain, was one of 2013's best under-the-radar country records, full of classic, roughneck, pedal-steel-spiked honky-tonk jams with lyrical bon-mots like "They call me King Turd up here on Shit Mountain," delivered in a handsome barrel-aged baritone. His forthcoming Metamodern Sounds In Country Music stretches his vintage sound even further with dub effects and lines like "Marijuana, LSD, psilocybin, DMT, they all changed the way I see/But love's the only thing that's ever saved my life."
He Says: "I've had some profoundly powerful psychedelic experiences. To each their own, and maybe they're not for everybody. But I figure something that forces you to look at things that you're not able to, helps you work on being be a better human, raises your level of empathy and lowers your ego, that's probably good for everybody once in awhile.
Hear for Yourself: Check the pill-poppin', Dukes of Hazzard-watchin' narrator of "You Can Have the Crown."" WILL HERMES