Sturgill Simpson: “I wanna hit Goliath in the forehead with a rock”

There’s so many gems in this Sturgill Simpson interview, nuggets of advice for any aspiring musician:

  • “If you pour your heart out and you’re honest with yourself and your human experience and your life, and you put that into music, you don’t have to be talented. … People will connect, and they’ll spread it for you. You don’t need radio. You don’t need some big machine throwing it out there. I’m living proof of that.”
  • “I want people out there that are in the position I was in four years ago to know that there’s hope. I wake up every day and feel like, ‘I wanna fuckin’ crush this game, without playing the game,’ just to prove it can be done. … I wanna hit Goliath in the forehead with a rock.”
  • “It took me this long to get right here. [But] this isn’t all I want, this isn’t all I know my music [can do]. I know that there are a whole lot of people out there that aren’t aware, that will connect with [my] music. … The industry’s not gonna give it to me. And at this point I don’t want them to. I’m going to prove to them I can do it. In 10 years I’ll be the biggest country star on this planet, I guaran-fuckin’-tee it. And there’s nothing they can do to stop that.
  • “I’ve got the Rocky heart, man. I’m gonna do it now out of spite. And I’m gonna go play rock ’n’ roll, too, and take all those fuckin’ people, and I’m going to build a little army. And you’ll come to my show, and it’ll be four hours long, and it’ll be an American music show. It won’t be a country music show, Americana music show or a soul music show. We’re gonna hit it all, we’re gonna touch it all, because I love it all. And I want to love everybody.”
  • “I wouldn’t change my experience for any other fuckin’ road that could have come, man,” he says. “Because I know that this is real, and the people that are with me are with me.”
  • Simpson later recalls being back in Utah, and how his wife — more convinced than he was that he had more than a hobbyist’s skill for singing and songwriting — urged him to leave behind his misery-inducing railroad job. And leave the $80,000 salary that came with it, to return to Nashville and take a real shot at music. “Thank God, she just leveled me one night: ‘You don’t fuckin’ suck at this. … You should share this and maybe try doing something you love with your life before I wake up and I’m stuck with some 40-year-old miserable asshole.’ ”
  • “It’s all about me struggling to get my foot in the door and figuring out how to land. I’ve landed now. I can’t really sit there and complain anymore. Life’s pretty good.  … But you still won’t see me on the fuckin’ CMAs.”
  • “If you ask me what I think about, what I stress about — it’s making the best fucking records that I possibly can. [If] I feel like I just kind of went through the motions and pumped out what I think people were expecting, to appease them and make them happy to sustain my lifestyle, [then] I’m lying to them.”

What Can We Learn from Nashville about Building and Supporting a Music Community?

Looking forward to reading a new book, Beyond the Beat: Musicians Building Community in Nashville, which:

identifies the rise of three new types of musicians, or “artist activists,” who take a more active role in shaping their careers and communities: “enterprising artists” who are entrepreneurial and career-focused, “artistic social entrepreneurs” who combine music with a social mission to build community or maintain social spaces, and “artist advocates” who are remaking unionism for music and the arts (a few of whom are chronicled in the book). These three types of artist activists not only work to develop their own careers, but to support and help one another. In turn, they have created an inclusive peer community, strengthened the broader network of musicians, and bolstered the very fiber of Nashville and its music scene.

Also interested in reading about what the city of Nashville has done to support music:

Local public policy has sustained musicians and the industry in several ways. On the demand side, economic development has focused on music-themed tourism, museums, and festivals that attract consumers of music and related retail and hospitality services. On the supply side, the city has encouraged the development of affordable housing for musicians and other artists, as well as arts districts that provide studio, performance, and display spaces for performing and visual artists, and their fans.

Source: What Drives Nashville’s Music Industry – CityLab



Honored and excited to be hitting the road with Torres for these May dates:

5/4 Saxaphaw, NC – Haw River Ballroom

5/6 Nashville, TN – The Stone Fox

5/8 Dallas, TX – Club Dada

5/9 Austin, TX – The Mohawk 

5/11 Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock Live

5/12 Los Angeles, CA – The Echo

5/13 San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill

5/15 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge

5/16 Seattle, WA – Barboza

5/17 Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl

5/20 Minneapolis, MN – 7th St. Entry

5/21 Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle

5/22 Detroit, MI – UFO Factory

5/23 Toronto, ON – The Garrison

My 20 Favorite Songs of 2013

1. THE BRONX – “Style Over Everything”

2. SLAINE – “Nothin’ But Business”

3. DIRECT HIT! – “The World is Ending (No One Cares)”

4. TWO COW GARAGE – “Stars and Gutters”

5. ASHLEY MONROE – “Weed Instead of Roses”

6. JASON ISBELL – “Elephant”

7. STEVE EARLE – “Burning It Down”


9. MATT POND – “Love to Get Used”

10. AIRBOURNE – “Animalize”

11. THE FLATLINERS – “Drown in Blood”

12. THE FRATELLIS – “Halloween Blues”

13. FRIGHTENED RABBIT – “The Woodpile”


15. BLACK JOE LEWIS – “Come to My Party”

16. THE WEEKS – “Brother in the Night”

17. FRANK TURNER – “Plain Sailing Weather”

18. LUCERO – “Texas and Tennessee”

19. WILLY MOON – “Railroad Track”

20. WAXAHATCHEE – “Peace and Quiet”