Sturgill Simpson performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. i

Sturgill Simpson performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR
Sturgill Simpson performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival.

Sturgill Simpson performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival.

Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Sturgill Simpson, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Sturgill Simpson, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427719252/427796611" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Sturgill Simpson doesn't adhere to what's expected of him. One of last year's breakout country stars, he received several nominations for September's Americana Music Awards, but that didn't stop Simpson and his band from taking the Newport Folk Festival stage to Skrillex's "Ragga Bomb." With his message delivered — he wasn't to be pigeonholed or taken too seriously — dubstep gave way to the Kentuckian's unwashed, existential, devil-may-care outlaw country, which has caught the attention of classic country fans while challenging them at the same time.

Simpson recently signed to a major label and began work on his third studio album alongside clamored-after superproducer Dave Cobb, who also produced Simpson's debut (High Top Mountain) and 2014's stellar Metamodern Sounds In Country Music. Songs from those two records dominated his Saturday-afternoon Newport set, along with a couple of bluegrass covers, performed lovingly if not reverently. The band's high-octane honky-tonk ramble and its frontman's rough-edged snarl of a voice had the audience hollering in delight, particularly when he hit crowd-pleasers like "Life Of Sin" and "Living The Dream." In response, Simpson played the good-natured contrarian: "Yeah, whatever. Sixty years ago, y'all would have booed us off the stage."

LANGUAGE ADVISORY: This recording contains profanity.

SET LIST
  • "Sitting Here Without You"
  • "Water In A Well"
  • "Long White Line"
  • "Time After All"
  • "Poor Rambler"
  • "Medicine Springs"
  • "A Little Light Within"
  • "Living The Dream"
  • "Life Of Sin"
  • "It Ain't All Flowers"
  • "The Promise"
  • "Railroad Of Sin"
  • "Turtles All The Way Down"
  • "Listening To The Rain"
CREDITS

Audio: Joshua Rogosin, Suraya Mohamed, Monique Mizrahi. Photography: Adam Kissick. Sturgill Simpson appears courtesy of Atlantic Records.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Newport Folk Festival

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear perform at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The mother-and-son duo radiated easy familiarity and sincerity during this charming afternoon set.

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/429049449/434694125" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Brandi Carlile performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Brandi Carlile, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Hear the folk-rock powerhouse perform candid, emotional songs from The Firewatcher's Daughter.

Brandi Carlile, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/429333796/434691259" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Luluc performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Luluc, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

An Australian duo spending time in Brooklyn makes quiet, intimate, yearning music.

Luluc, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427188612/429080001" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lord Huron's Ben Schneider performs live at the Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Lord Huron, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The Los Angeles band's Newport Folk set was jubilant and loud.

Lord Huron, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427193739/427194962" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Courtney Barnett performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Courtney Barnett, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The rising Australian rock star went electric and then some this weekend at Newport.

Listen to Highlights From The Concert
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426710883/426713214" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jason Isbell smiles during a performance at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Jason Isbell, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Spirits were high Saturday as Isbell performed songs from his new album, Something More Than Free.

Jason Isbell, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426505568/426556257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Tallest Man On Earth performed Friday at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

The Tallest Man On Earth, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Swedish songwriter Kristian Matsson gave a performance worthy of his stage name on Friday.

The Tallest Man On Earth, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426247490/426248213" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Lone Bellow performed Friday night at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

The Lone Bellow, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Listen to the band's soaring Friday set, featuring guest appearances by Leon Bridges and Lucius.

The Lone Bellow, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426245527/426246074" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top