A Sailor's Guide to Earth

Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide to Earth
Critic Score
Based on 23 reviews
2016 Ratings: #17 / 947
Year End Rank: #26
User Score
Based on 428 ratings
2016 Ratings: #57
Liked by 13 people
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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Slant Magazine

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


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.


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.

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.

The Guardian
It’s hardly a revolutionary album, but its melding of styles ... gives it a fresh, unsullied feeling.
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.
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.

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


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

"Hello my son, welcome to Earth
May not be my last, but you'll always be my first"

Despite all the criticism that modern country music receives from music snobs around the world, there are still great artists who defend it such as Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton. Outlaw country is not exactly the newest idea in the world, but I will admit that seeing it gain in popularity, especially outside its normal fan base, gives me a glimmer of hope for country music in a broader ... read more
I can sincerely say that this is one of the best musical experiences I have ever had.

So rarely does a piece truly evoke raw emotions from within me and when one does so it is usually a singular, concentrated emotion like grief or anger, but this made me feel so many different emotions and they were all so strong and vibrant.

I avoided this album simoly because of the "country" moniker and this album has not only changed my opinion on the genre, but on music as a whole.

p.s. you ... read more
country is very gOOd
Inglume Quest #2:

"Woah, what the heck! One of the oldest American genres with an extremely rich history of experimentation in sound and lyricism made good music!!!!! Woah this is crazy!!!!!!!" -Every user review of this

This was as amazing as I thought it was gonna be. I mean...look at that title. LOOK AT THAT COVER! of course it's gonna be amazing. I thought that the track order was kinda all over the place (Like, why was Call to Arms the closer?) And I could go without ... read more
If it wasn't for 'Keep It Between The Lines' this would be scored a bit higher for me, but I kinda hate that song.

Been trying this album on and off for 2.5 years now 'cause it never REALLY clicked with me but I kept feeling like I was missing out on something by not getting more into it... not sure what hell I was thinking before, this thing is pretty great. I like the arrangements A LOT and Sturgill's twang is pleasant enough for me.

When I first heard In Bloom I was not a fan, but I've ... read more
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Added on: March 4, 2016