Sturgill Simpson (from the album High Top Mountain available on High Top Mountain Records)
Self-funded, self-released, and signed to a UK label (Loose Records) for distribution, High Top Mountain was the debut solo step for Sturgill Simpson. The album is a peer to the original days of Outlaw Country, biting lyrics laid out on chugging rhythms, stories that read like diary pages from a traveling troubadour. The opening cut for High Top Mountain is a day in the life of the marriage between music and commerce, Sturgill Simpson starting the story with the record label smiling and shaking hands as the music man weighs in with “Life Ain’t Fair and the World is Mean”. The tale is a template for High Top Mountain as Sturgill Simpson aims his career and his songs at honky tonk stages worldwide. A rushed rhythm is the mighty wind for “Poor Rambler” as the songwriter lets his mind wander, what-ifs rising like the smoke rings in the story of “Time After All” while sad Country tells its tale with “Water in a Well” and the melody quiets to allow “Hero” to pay tribute with its words.
A band member (vocalist/guitar) for Sunday Valley was the experience that Sturgill Simpson brought to his High Top Mountain debut (produced by Dave Cobb). Formed in 2004, Sturgill Simpson took a break from the band, and from music, managing a freight shipping yard in Salt Lake City before returning to the band at the urging of his wife and friends. He moved to Nashville, Tennessee after Sunday Valley broke up in 2012, releasing High Top Mountain in 2013. The album began a musically evolving progression of studio releases that will feature the cycle of life seen in five albums as acts in the stage play. High Top Mountain is the formative musical background of Sturgill Simpson, his songwriting tribute to the tunes that made a difference to him. He boards “Railroad of Sin’ on a runaway train Rock’n’Country beat and weathers rolling clouds of rumbling chords in “The Storm” as High Top Mountain puts the spotlight on a Country crooner for “I’d Have to Be Crazy” while Sturgill Simpson wins the musical throne on shit mountain and is looking to hand over his hat in “You Can Have the Crown”.
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