“Is this a choice that everything you own looks really old?” Daily Show host Trevor Noah asked his guest Sturgill Simpson last night, ogling his vintage Gibson guitar. Simpson, who appeared on the program to play “In Bloom” and “Call to Arms” from his album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, and weather a few light jabs from Noah, nodded. “The older stuff sounds better,” he said.
But not everything — Simpson’s new LP is a stunning guidebook for his infant son as he grows and gets his sea legs, that ends with “Call to Arms,” a vigorous and virulent sendoff from a parent who wants to raise a child aware of the world’s poisonous politics and pirates instead of sheltering him from the storm. Watch the video above, where he’s joined by a three-piece horn section and his dynamite band that explodes the track into a psychedelic, country-soul protest anthem punctuated with Simpson’s James Brown-worthy wail.
Simpson also performed “In Bloom,” from Nirvana’s Nevermind that the singer confessed was “like a bomb going off” in his bedroom when he discovered it at thirteen. “I thought it also captured, lyrically, whether [Kurt Kobain] intended it or not, I found the lyrics lent themselves to a good narrative for a young boy’s life around that post-pubescent age,” Simpson said.
But Noah wasn’t going to let Simpson off too easy. “I read a beautiful write up on [the album] and how you talked about how it was basically a letter to your infant son,” he said. “Do you not plan to speak to him?”