Scroll Down to Listen to “You Can Have the Crown,” by Sturgill Simpson (Opens in Spotify)
Sturgill Simpson writes a lot of songs about drugs. This is unsurprising, because his music is addictive—once you get a little taste, you want to plunge back in for as long as your body can stand.
Simpson’s music recalls the golden era of mid-70s outlaw country, and I think that comparisons to the big names, most notably Waylon Jennings, are warranted. Simpson’s talented band retains a pure country sound, and the lyrics certainly deal with the appropriate range of problems (in this case, lack of money), but everything is suffused with a rock and roll attitude. The attack is fast, technically complex, and heavy on the guitars; Simpson’s vocal is filled with vinegar and gunpowder. Most importantly, the chip on Simpson’s shoulder coupled with his frankly profane writing could come out of a punk rock song: “Well they call me King Turd up here on Shit Mountain/If you want it you can have the crown.”
It’s perhaps not palatable to the mainstream country audience, who seems to be currently more concerned with Coors Light and swimmin’ holes (google “bro-country” for a string of jeremiads), but I don’t think Simpson gives two figs. He’s pushing high-quality product to a limited market, and he knows they’ll keep coming back for more.