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.”

Essential Albums of 2014

What follows are the albums I would call “Essential Listening” for 2014, meaning:

  • that the majority of songs on the album are great
  • that 2014 would be a bit less complete without them

First Aid Kit – Stay Gold

Official * Amazon * iTunes

Chuck RaganTill Midnight

Official * Bandcamp * Amazon * iTunes


Manchester OrchestraCope

Official * Amazon * iTunes


White LungDeep Fantasy

Official * Amazon * iTunes


Ryan AdamsRyan Adams

Official * Amazon * iTunes



Official * Bandcamp * Amazon * iTunes


Sturgill SimpsonMetamodern Sounds in Country Music

Official * Bandcamp * Amazon * iTunes


The Gaslight AnthemGet Hurt

Official * Amazon * iTunes


Lydia Loveless – Somewhere Else

Official * Amazon * iTunes

If someone’s written a better song this year, I haven’t heard it.

By the time I get the money, it will be all gone
Lord, it’s already gone
Well, by the time I get the money, it will be all gone
Lord, everything’s gone
Everything’s gone, everything’s gone
Everything’s gone, lord everything’s gone


Kierston WhiteDon’t Write Love Songs

CD Baby * Amazon * iTunes


The Interrupters – s/t

Official * Amazon * iTunes

YouTube: “Take Back the Power


COLD WAR KIDS – Hold My Home

iTunes * Amazon


Death from Above 1979 – The Physical World

Official * Amazon * iTunes


RVIVR – Bicker and Breathe

We’re gonna miss it when it’s gone
If it’s the sun we’ll leave a light on
If it’s the dark, just close our eyes
We don’t wanna get good at goodbyes

Official * Bandcamp


Nikki Lane – All or Nothin’

Official * Amazon * iTunes


Shakey Graves – And the War Came

Official * Bandcamp * Amazon * iTunes


Billy the Kid – Horseshoes & Handgrenades

Official * Amazon * iTunes


The Lawrence Arms – Metropole

What are we doing here?
That’s what’s f*cking killing me.

Official * Amazon * iTunes


Black Pistol Fire – Hush or Howl

Amazon * iTunes


Matthew Ryan – Boxers

Official * Bandcamp * Amazon * iTunes


The Both – s/t

Official * iTunes * Amazon


Tim Barry – Lost and Rootless

Official * iTunes * Amazon


Old Crow Medicine Show – Remedy

Official * Amazon * iTunes


The Copyrights – Report

Heart wants what the heart can’t have
The world is such a drag
Heart wants what’ll never be yours.
This world is such a bore.

Bandcamp * Amazon * iTunes