After experimenting with psychedelic country on his critically acclaimed breakout album,Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Sturgill is back April 15 with A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, which finds the singer/songwriter testing even more outlandish theories, this time with a decidedly rock-based sound. With a voice like Sturgill’s, there’s always going to be a lot of country in the equation—it’s just approached from odd angles, like in his just-released cover of Nirvana’s angst-filled hit “In Bloom.”
”I remember in seventh or eighth grade, when that album dropped, it was like a bomb went off in my bedroom,” Sturgill says of Nirvana’s Nevermind, the iconic album that features “In Bloom.” “For me, that song has always summed up what it means to be a teenager, and I think it tells a young boy that he can be sensitive and compassionate—he doesn’t have to be tough or cold to be a man. So I wanted to make a very beautiful and pure homage to [Nirvana lead singer/songwriter] Kurt [Cobain].”
Check out Sturgill’s almost unrecognizable rendition of the tune—full of quiet spaces, wounded vocals and swelling strings—in this creepy new video directed by Matt Mahurin.