XPN Fest Recap: The War on Drugs and Sturgill Simpson deliver guitar jams of different sorts at BB&T

The War on Drugs | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

While the night one headliners at #XPNFest were cerebral, experimental and beat-oriented, night two shifted the focus to a rock festival classic: the guitar.

Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs is a master of instrumental tone and texture, of soundscaping — as well as atmospheric lead licks that transport the band and the crowd to the stratosphere. Sturgill Simpson is more down and dirty, an adherent of country / blues riff rock tradition, but played louder and faster than most of his peers (and heroes). Together, they treated the BB&T Pavilion crowd to expansive jams, but of two very different sorts.

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Watch #XPNFest headliner Sturgill Simpson perform with Chris Stapleton on SNL

Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton | still from video

Call it a meeting of metamodern country greats. Last night on Saturday Night Live, Nashville’s Chris Stapleton was the musical guest, in support of last year’s two-volume From A Room project. As a surprise for fans, Stapleton’s lead guitarist was his Kentucky neighbor Sturgill Simpson, who co-headlines this year’s Saturday night concert at the XPoNential Music Festival alongside The War on Drugs. Continue reading →


Chance the Rapper, David Bowie top nomination list for 59th annual Grammy Awards

Chance to Rapper at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Chance the Rapper at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Nominations for the 59th annual Grammy Awards were announced this morning, ramping up excitement for the February 12th ceremony.

As expected Adele has received several nominations including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Hello,” while her third LP 25 is up for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Chance the Rapper and Anderson.Paak will vie for Best New Artist, with the former appearing again on both the Best Rap Performance shortlist for “No Problem” and the Best Rap Album shortlist for Coloring Book, while the latter’s Malibu appears in the Best Urban Contemporary group against Firefly Music Festival stand out Gallant and his Ology.

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Sturgill Simpson rearranges the nightmare on A Sailor’s Guide To Earth

Sturgill Simpson | Photo by Reto Sterchi
Sturgill Simpson | Photo by Reto Sterchi

An outlaw’s work is never done: Sturgill Simpson‘s latest album, A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, is now streaming on First Listen via NPR Music.

On his last release, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Simpson challenged the preconceived notion of establishment Nashville by giving the world a record of old-school country filtered through a lens of psychedelia and back-breaking introspective folk music.

With this new record, Simpson continues to break down genre walls by teaming up with Sharon Jones’ horn squad The Dap Kings to combine his modernist country with 60’s soul and rock & roll. Continue reading →


Sturgill Simpson releases video for “Brace For Impact (Live A Little)” from upcoming A Sailor’s Guide To Earth

Sturgill Simpson | Photo by Joe Del Tufo |

Country mind-eraser Sturgill Simpson continues to stun with his old-school outlaw rock and roll, from 2014’s terrific Metamodern Sounds In Country Music to contributing the song “Sugar Daddy” to HBO’s Vinyl. His new album A Sailor’s Guide To Earth is out this April, and this week he shared the video for it’s lead single “Brace For Impact (Live A Little).” Continue reading →


Listen to a totally rocking new song by Sturgill Simpson, “Sugar Daddy,” from HBO’s Vinyl

Sturgill Simspn | Firefly | Photo by Joe delTufo |
Sturgill Simspn | Firefly | Photo by Joe delTufo for WXPN |

Americana singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson has shared a new song, “Sugar Daddy,” the theme from the highly anticipated new HBO show, Vinyl. It’s a song that is guaranteed to turn the heads of his fans, for whom his acoustic flavored country songs have become near anthems. Continue reading →


Firefly Music Festival: Morrissey, Spoon, Zella Day, Sturgill Simpson, and more

Crowd during Matt & Kim's set | Firefly | Photo by Joe del Tufo |
Crowd during Matt & Kim’s set | Firefly | Photo by Joe del Tufo |

Photographer Joe del Tufo has been at Firefly. Despite the evacuation of the grounds last night due to dangerous weather, most of the weekend has been clear. Rockers Kings of Leon, Steve Aoki, and several other bands were unable to perform. Check out some of the photos of band that did get to perform by del Tufo. Continue reading →