Review: Sturgill Simpson’s ‘High Top Mountain’

With the current country radio stations flooded with the pop-country tunes, it’s easy for those of us who grew up on Waylon Jennings and Garth Brooks to yearn for the days of twang and bluegrass again.

Enter Sturgill Simpson. His ultimate goal was to create the “purest, most uncompromising, hard county album anyone has made in 30 years.” And he may have done just that. Simpson’s debut album, High Top Mountain, is the quintessential country album in a world that is quickly becoming all about crossover acts.

Nothing about his album says “pop,” and that’s exactly what the country world needs right now.

His 12 track album features ballads like “I’d Have to Be Crazy” are reminiscent of the opening verses of Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free” with gospel choir-like instrumentals, before leading into Simpson’s own soulful and raw sound throughout the chorus and bridge.

“Life Ain’t Fair and the World is Mean” and “Sitting Here Without You” could be played at any dimly lit bar and fit the mood of every patron. It is enough to send shivers down your spine and keep listeners hooked.

High Top Mountain is bringing country back to its roots. It reminds a younger generation that new country music doesn’t have to be played on every radio station—it just has to reach the listeners. It is the abrasive sound of Simpson’s voice that has the ability to connect with any country fan and remind them of how the country world should be.

This may be Simpson’s first album, but country music fans should keep an eye (and an ear) out for more from this country crooner.

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