Sturgill Simpson’s upcoming album A Sailor’s Guide To Earth has been receiving positive reviews even before the CD has been released. As he did earlier for When in Rome’s “The Promise,” Simpson once again surprises listeners with a unique cover song, this time covering Nirvana’s “In Bloom” on the new album.
Simpson found inspiration for the album A Sailor’s Guide To Earth from two sources, his grandfather’s letters from the South Pacific during World War II and the birth of Simpson’s own son. While Simpson struggled with watching his own son grow up fast while he was on tour, he turned to creating this album, which Mojo describes in a 4-star review as ruminating “on the transformative powers of parenthood, the weight and ecstasy of love.”
Considering the conceptual context of Simpson’s new album, it may at first appear an odd selection to include a cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom.’ The song was the fourth and final single from the band’s 1991 album Nevermind (1991) and was the band’s message to those who did not understand their music: “And he likes to sing along / And he likes to shoot his gun / But he knows not what it means.”
But in the context of the album, “In Bloom” does seem to fit as part of a parent’s message to a child as perhaps a warning against ignorance. Similarly, Simpson closes the album with “Call to Arms,” a diatribe against authority and in particular the military. “Bullshit on the TV/ Bullshit on the radio/ Hollywood telling me how to be/ Bullshit’s got to go.”
In this context, Simpson takes a great Nirvana song and explores the hidden love behind the song as not so much a message to the ignorant but as a warning to the ones we love. Check it out.
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth hits stores and the Internet on April 15, 2016.
What is your favorite cover of a Nirvana song? Leave your two cents in the comments.
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