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Review: Music

Sturgill Simpson

Sturgill Simpson

The Admiral Bar, Glasgow

Rob Adams

IT'S not too difficult to hear why Sturgill Simpson wouldn't fit into the star-making machinery of Nashville's music industry.

He even has a song about it, Life Ain't Fair And The World Is Mean, and while the Nashville "suits" probably feel this confirms their impression of Simpson as an unsophisticated hayseed, they would be wrong to write him off as such.

The uncompromising Kentucky accent Simpson sings in might take a song or two to get used to, but there's intelligence in his writing and the images he uses are the essence of country music.

His very rawness has its own appeal and his sincerity shines through, whether he's singing about the damage the coal industry has done to Kentucky's rural social fabric or reminding us he "don't have to change my strings cos dirt don't hurt the way I sing".

And if the way he sings has been nourished by deep immersion in bluegrass and country heroes including Carter Stanley and Lefty Frizzell, both of whose songs he covered with real conviction at this gig, he has also developed his own voice and personality as a top-rate musician.

Simpson is "threatening" to bring his band over here at some point.

On the evidence of his Jerry Reed-like fast-lane picking, which apparently features more prominently in the band's repertoire, this might be deserving of a red-carpet welcome if and when they make such a trip.

Meanwhile, we have an experience of a generally more laid-back but hugely soulful performer to savour .

That experience sits alongside the suspicion that if, as appears to be the case, Simpson is going to be recognised more on this side of the Atlantic, then Nashville's loss will be our gain.

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