Sturgill Simpson (born June 8, 1978) is an American country music singer-songwriter. He has released two albums independently. Simpson's songs are represented by Downtown Music Publishing.
Simpson was born in Jackson, Kentucky, a small town in Breathitt County in southeast Kentucky. He was the son of a secretary and a state policeman who formerly worked undercover narcotics. Due to his father's work, Simpson's family moved to Versailles, outside Lexington, where Simpson graduated from Woodford County High School. Simpson's mother's family were coal miners.
After three years in the United States Navy, Simpson spent time in Japan and then moved back to Lexington.
He formed the bluegrass band Sunday Valley in 2004, which played at the Pickathon festival in Portland, Oregon.
Simpson took a break from music and worked a job in a Salt Lake City railroad freight-shipping yard for Union Pacific Railroad. After playing local open mics and gigs, Simpson returned to Sunday Valley. They toured and made an album. He and his wife moved to Nashville when the group disbanded in 2012.
After going solo, Simpson released his debut album High Top Mountain in 2013 which he self-funded and self-released. The album was produced by Dave Cobb. Among the session musicians were Hargus "Pig" Robbins and Robby Turner, a former guitarist for Waylon Jennings. The record is named after a cemetery near Jackson where many of his family are buried.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic rated High Top Mountain 4 stars out of 5, comparing its sound favorably to Waylon Jennings. Erik Ernst of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also compared it to Jennings, saying that it had "rich vintage sounds, heartbreaking ballads and juke-joint ramblers".
In 2014, Simpson released his second album produced by Dave Cobb, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music to positive reviews. The album's lead single is "Living the Dream". The record is described as a "deep and unconventional relationship between traditionalism and new ways of thinking," and deviates from Simpson's more traditional hard country debut. Simpson said that "recording and mixing was done in five and a half days for about $4,000. I was pretty proud about that."
Simpson made his television network debut on July 14, 2014, on the Late Show with David Letterman, playing "Life of Sin". He has also played the Grand Ole Opry and has opened for artists like Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, and the Zac Brown Band.
Current members of Simpson's band:
Laur Joamets – electric & slide guitar
Kevin Black – bass guitar
Jeff Crow – keyboards
Miles Miller – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Simpson is often compared to Waylon Jennings and the Outlaw Country genre of country music. Shooter Jennings says, "Sturgill isn't imitating at all, and he sounds like my favorite era of my dad, the Seventies, when he would sing quieter and more conversational. That's what struck me about Sturgill from Day One. And still does."
Simpson is married, and has lived with his wife and dog in Nashville, Tennessee since 2010. They have a son who was born in June 2014.
Simpson has talked about his struggles with alcohol; he has been sober since he was 28.