A Sailor's Guide to Earth
Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth
Critic Score
Based on 16 reviews
2016 Rank: #21 / 722
User Score
Based on 237 ratings
Your Review

CRITIC REVIEWS

100
Exclaim!

Simpson ... seems hell-bent on disassembling the genre and piecing it back together the only way that sounds right to him. While the best of the best learn to master country music, he's turning it into a whole new monster, one that's his and his only.

100
Pretty Much Amazing

Compared to the industry standard, A Sailor’s Guide feels at least five years too early. Artists spend decades working up to the level of instrumental variety and emotional awareness that Simpson seems to comprehend at his core.

91
Entertainment Weekly
Overall, the album is strikingly intimate. At times, it feels like you’ve somehow found yourself in the singer’s hallway, listening as he coos lullabies to his child in a nursery.
90
PopMatters

Afforded creative freedom many felt would be stifled, Simpson’s latest musical offspring is a love letter we can all cherish.

90
Uncut
Simpson hasn’t abandoned country – he’s just made it big enough to contain all he wants to do. The man’s only boundary now is the horizon.
85
Paste

As a whole, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is simultaneously eclectic and of a piece: It’s big and bold and sometimes messy, but never unfocused.

80
Slant Magazine

Even beyond the chances Simpson takes, A Sailor's Guide to Earth remains a sonically stunning album.

80
AllMusic

It's an old-fashioned concept album, one that tells a story -- it's a letter to his newborn son, telling him how to become a man -- and is dressed in garish art suited to the side of a Chevy van.

80
Mojo

Simpson invests this bold, widescreen music with such heartfelt and real pathos and joy that it announces him as a major talent, and makes A Sailor’s Guide To Earth so rewarding.

80
Rolling Stone

Sailor's Guide is classic album length – nine songs, 39 minutes – and best heard in one sitting; this is Nashville craft less as pop science than as expansive headphone storytelling.

80
The Guardian
It’s hardly a revolutionary album, but its melding of styles ... gives it a fresh, unsullied feeling.
80
Pitchfork
It's a deeply personal album that, while establishing Simpson as the defining songwriter of his class, displays an artistic growth that defies any sort of easy label.
80
The Independent

A Sailor’s Guide To Earth ranges over issues of love, depression and identity with hard-won wisdom. A skilled interpreter, Simpson’s bruised baritone murmur morphs to fit the contours of each song.

80
The Needle Drop
Singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson comes through with the classiest country album I've heard in a while.
75
Consequence of Sound

Written for one lucky baby boy, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth also welcomes the unmarried, infertile, abandoned, and middle-aged with unconditional love. If Father’s Day is just another Sunday, let Simpson be your proxy.

70
Spin

On Earth, Simpson continues to have fun flipping the genre’s tropes on their head.

Apr 13, 2016
EMR
76
Sturgill Simpson continues his rise as the most creative and distinct country artist of his generation, now with an interesting release that follows the idea of his previous album, while incorporating elements from other genres such as rock, psychedelic-music, folk and soul. The result is another solid record full of surprises, with a different approach to country in each track. It is quite varied, but very cohesive, nonetheless, and even though the final results may not be just as emotive and ... read more
Mar 27, 2017
Felindie
75
Fav Tracks:Keep It Between the Lines, In Bloom
Feb 15, 2017
83
To all of the country artists who talk big about pushing the boundaries of the genre -- THIS is how you do that! Sturgill Simpson manages to incorporate significant soul, Southern rock, and alternative influences into this album while still sounding completely country -- the cover of "in Bloom" is one of the highlights. The concept of explaining the world to the child initially threatens to be overbearing, but is handled quite nicely. Glad to see this getting the attention it's been ... read more
Dec 29, 2016
79
- Impact / listenability= 8
- creativity / musicianship = 8.5
- consistency = 7.5
- recording (1/2) = 7.5
- feel factor (1/2) = 8
- overall = 79.4

Bold and brave. A true crossover album. Just a bit inconsistent for me to catapult this among my year end best albums. Excellent tracks throughout.
Dec 29, 2016*
87
A stunner this year, Sturgill Simpson returns to craft a smart set of tracks, personally for his son- and relatable to all. In all country-spirit, he is a story-teller with honest lyricism showcased beginning to end- there is a Nirvana cover though, that one doesn't too bad either.The more orchestrated tracks are breathtaking, while his voice absorbs you in on his more-or-less stripped back tracks. What's truly amazing is the way he bends and breaks the genre, resulting in great sounds rare ... read more
Track List
  1. Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)
  2. Breakers Roar
  3. Keep It Between the Lines
  4. Sea Stories
  5. In Bloom
  6. Brace for Impact (Live a Little)
  7. All Around You
  8. Oh Sarah
  9. Call to Arms


Added on: March 4, 2016