• Linda H. Codega

Sturgill Simpson: SOUND & FURY

For those of you who don’t know Sturgill Simpson, this Grammy-winning country artist has been at the forefront of contemporary country, a modern Waylon Jennings, living and breathing and producing music that is truly of our decade. He’s got a Nashville twang and has been described as having “outlaw country leanings.” His music is cosy with commercial but still holds onto a classic 70’s style that has gained him fans across the nation. The music he makes is slick and well produced, with just enough edge to make everyone happy. He’s a solid artist, a great artist even, and his rock-and-roll style is breathing new life into the folksy country scene.

So it came as a surprise when Simpson, for his newest album, ‘SOUND & FURY,’ decided to drop a film to go alongside his tin can twangup vibes. Even more surprising was the decision to go with Japanese animation studios, giving them leeway to explore an apocryphal country vision. He apparently wrote the story, produced the album, and then gave the studios a lot of freedom with their work, allowing them to creatively interpret both music and characters through modern takes on the surrealist dada anime considerations popular in the mid-90s. Simpson has shown before that he’s not above poking fun at himself, allowing director Jim Jarmusch to use his single, ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ as the satirical theme song for a film of the same name, even appearing as “Guitar Zombie” in the production. SOUND & FURY takes Simpson’s “don’t get precious” attitude and runs away with it, throwing any sense of decorum to the wolves with a grin.

There’s no good way to describe Sturgill Simpson: SOUND & FURY. We’re going to try though. Think of a Samurai-inspired Mad Max showdown set in a Texas flatland, the main character serving us Ruroni Kenshin avenging swordsman-meets Lady Snowblood, who’s got a FLCL “fuck all of you, but not the individual” attitude tied up in Gorrilaz animation, all mixed together with Evangelion-style end of the world drama and Akira anti-authority outlaws roaming the streets. It’s absurdist anime at its peak, mixing styles, emotions, and storylines in a full-circle forty-minute extravaganza of