Back when he released High Top Mountain in 2013, the retro sensibilities of Sturgill Simpson seemed to be rooted solely in outlaw country: he swaggered like the second coming of Waylon Jennings, a man on a mission to restore muscle and drama to country music. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, his 2014 sophomore set, was a curve ball revealing just how unorthodox his rulebook was. After nearly two decades of alternative country doubling down on po-faced authenticity where simpler was better, Simpson embraced indulgence, pushing new wave, psychedelia, and digital-age saturation, all in an attempt to add the cosmic back into American music.
2016 release, the first new album in eight years from Chrissie Hynde and Co. Originally intended as s follow-up to Hynde's 2014 solo album Stockholm, Alone evolved into a bonafide Pretenders album although she is the only original band member to appear on the album. Alone was recorded with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach at his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville. The album features Hynde on vocals and guitar joined by bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Sturgill Simpson), pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl (Blake Shelton), guitarist Kenny Vaughan (Lana Del Rey), keyboardist Leon Michels, and drummer Richard Swift.
The short documentary highlights the rise of the iconic Martin Dreadnought and is narrated by Martin player and actor Jeff Daniels. For 100 years, the Martin Dreadnought has withstood the test of time becoming the companion for many artists throughout music history. The documentary features CEO and Chairman Chris Martin IV with Martin Ambassadors Jason Isbell, Seth Avett, Del McCoury and Sturgill Simpson. Special appearances also include David Crosby, Stephan Stills, and Rosanne Cash as well.
Having contributed to reshaping soul music of the mid 1960s and early 1970s via other recording artists (notably Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, The 5th Dimension), Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson were a long established song-writing success before expanding on this as a recording duo in 1973. Following on from their surprisingly low-key Warner Bros. debut GIMME SOMETHING REAL, their sophomore release I WANNA BE SELFISH saw Ashford & Simpson reintegrating their trademark smooth, and joyous soul sound into the quieter moods of their debut.