When an artist’s being exalted for saving Nashville’s soul, having called his latest album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, something intriguing is clearly afoot. Just as notably, Kentucky-born Grammy nominee Sturgill Simpson - besides addressing established congregations like Austin City Limits and Newport Folk Festival - converted fresh multitudes last summer at the hipster holy trinity of Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, spreading a musical gospel inspired equally by outlaw country and out-there cosmology.
But while others hail his sound as a righteous, richly inventive riposte to the identikit gym-toned vacuity of recent bro-country stars, Simpson himself shrugs off any such lofty agenda, declaring: 'I’m just happy to be able to play'.
In 2014, legendary producer T Bone Burnett invited young US songstress Lera Lynn to collaborate on music for - and perform in - hit HBO series True Detective. That same year, Lynn’s hauntingly atmospheric second album, The Avenues, won critical comparisons to Rosanne Cash, Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones.