With seven albums and a lengthy list of accolades to his name, Sturgill Simpson has proven himself as one of modern country music’s most talented songwriters and performers. The Kentucky native kicked off his career by forming the band Sunday Valley in 2004, but the project eventually fizzled out. After moving to Nashville, Simpson spent years trying to make a name for himself as an artist while doing odd jobs and local gigs to pay the bills.
In 2013, he released he debut solo album High Top Mountain, which was produced by Dave Cobb and featured an impressive list of accompanying musicians, including accomplished session player Hargus “Pig” Robbins and pedal steel virtuoso Robby Turner, who previously performed with Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Bob Dylan and many more. The self-funded project didn’t become an immediate hit, the critical buzz earned from the release helped build momentum toward the album that broke his career.
The 2014 release of his second Cobb-prodcued record, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, skyrocketed Simpson from a relative unknown to a headlining act. He shared the stage with legends like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and became the face of a new generation of country music traditionalists offering up an alternative to mainstream country’s heavily pop and R&B-influenced sound.
Simpson’s follow up record, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, 2019’s rock-influenced album and accompanying anime film Sound & Fury, 2020’s back-to-back bluegrass records Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and his 2021 traditional country concert album The Ballad of Dood and Juanita have proven Simpson’s versatility and fearless attitude toward musical experimentation.
It should be no surprise that an artist as multi-talented as Simpson has forged lasting friendships and creative ties with some of music’s biggest names. Let’s take a look at 5 incredible Sturgill Simpson collaborations that every country fan should hear: