Sturgill Simpson is damn tiny. That’s a really simplistic and irrelevant observation but it genuinely was the first thing that hit me as he strolled casually out in front of the crowd in Glasgow’s spacious O2 ABC. I guess it speaks for the way you construct a mental image of an artist based on their sound, Simpson’s deep, powerful tones just seem like they would have to emanate from a towering man mountain. I guess size really doesn’t matter.

In the last five years Sturgill Simpson has established himself as one of the most acclaimed country acts around, crowned Artist of the Year in 2015 by the Americana awards. He followed it up in April with the release of his new album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and his set stuck pretty much to the new stuff revelling in lively, stomping tracks like “Between the Lines” and “Brace for Impact”.

It’s easy for an act to get drowned in the expanse of wide open venues like ABC but, with the new material that mixes his own classic country stylings and cavernous voice with a six-piece, brass-heavy backing band, Simpson effortlessly commands the room from centre stage.  The band strolled through their performance with an ease that never slipped in to apathy and the man himself shone at the centre like a guy who knows he’s on top right now. The easy grin that broke across his face at every break gave the night an air of casual celebration:  a low-key, laid back country party rounded out perfectly with Simpson’s outstanding re-invention of Nirvana classic “In Bloom”.

This Sturgill Simpson article was written by Ross McIndoe. Photo credit : annaceriksson

Sturgill Simpson

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