Sturgill Simpson Gets Far Out on “Turtles All the Way Down”

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After his traditional-minded debut High Top Mountain, who could have guessed how far into left field Sturgill Simpson would go for his follow-up, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music?

“I just reached a point where the thought of writing and singing any more songs about heartache and drinking made me feel incredibly bored with music,” Simpson admitted in an interview with NPR. “It’s just not a headspace I occupy much these days. Nighttime reading about theology, cosmology and breakthroughs in modern physics and their relationship to a few personal experiences I’ve had led to most of the songs on the album.”

For clarification, he adds, “There have been many socially-conscious concept albums. I wanted to make a ‘social-consciousness’ concept album disguised as a country record.”

His psychedelic new video for “Turtles All the Way Down” hammers the point home. While Simpson’s voice is inescapably country, the sensory overload of tie-dyed visuals combined with lyrics about aliens, drugs and a stack of turtles carrying the world on their backs put the song on another plane of existence.

“There is still so much room for sonic exploration in country music,” Simpson told NPR. “You always have to serve the songs, and the songs have to serve the records. Someday, if I ever get to a point where I find that I am repeating myself, that’s when I’ll know I’m done.”

Check out the cosmic country vision of Sturgill Simpson’s “Turtles All the Way Down.”