May 13, 2024 - Music

Sturgill Simpson's "Metamodern Sounds in Country Music" turns 10

Sturgill Simpson playing guitar onstage.

Sturgill Simpson in 2014. Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Sturgill Simpson released his breakthrough album "Metamodern Sounds in Country Music" 10 years ago Monday.

Why it matters: The record propelled Simpson to mainstream success and paved the way for a wave of successful left-of-center country artists.

  • One might say Tyler Childers, Zach Bryan and other top-selling country stars who don't fit into the Music Row machine owe "Metamodern" a debt of gratitude.
  • The album drew inspiration from Ray Charles' colossally influential "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Nate's thought bubble: The bro country movement was the monotone sound of the day in 2014, but "Metamodern" proved there was an audience for experimental and quirky country.

Reflecting on the album's anniversary, music journalist Marissa Moss said in Rolling Stone "'Metamodern' is an album that shows how the best music can come when you're respectful of the past but fearless about the future."

What happened next: On the heels of the success of "Metamodern,'' Simpson continued his experimental approach, but he also exited the indie music world.

  • He went on to sign with big label Atlantic Records and win a Grammy award for best country album for "A Sailor's Guide to Earth."

Go deeper: Read Moss' Rolling Stone article about the album's lasting impact.


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