NASHVILLE (LIVE 105) — Nirvana’s 1992 hit single “In Bloom” from the landmark Nevermind album has been giving a startling sonic makeover by rising maverick country star Sturgill Simpson.

The Nashville-based singer/songwriter has already established himself as an artist who refuses to be boxed in. The only act to play the Coachella Arts and Music Festival and the country-focused Stagecoach Festival the following weekend (as Simpson did last year), he regularly includes blistering takes on T-Rex and Led Zeppelin gems amid his more traditionalist original songs when playing live.

The version of “In Bloom” went public Thursday when a video for Simpson’s version was posted via the musician’s YouTube account.

A mournful country torch-song take on Kurt Cobain’s alt-rock radio standard, Simpson’s “In Bloom” floats on swells of pedal steel and strings before erupting in a soulful bridge powered by Stax-style horns. Close listening reveals the songwriter made one small but important lyrical addition to the chorus,  switching the closing line to “But he don’t know what it means/He don’t know what it means to love someone.”

Sturgill Simpson (Credit: Reto Sterchi)

Sturgill Simpson (Credit: Reto Sterchi)

As far as visuals, the video is packed with the kind of surreal imagery that fans have come to expect from Simpson since he released “Turtles All the Way Down,” the psychedelic-tinged lead single to his last album Metamodern Sounds In Country Music that came out to wide acclaim in 2014.

The video made an immediate impact online, garnering coverage on RollingStone.com and NPR and racking up almost 90,000 views in the space of a day.

“In Bloom” is the second song to be made public from Simpson’s highly anticipated third album, A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, which is set for release on April 15 via Atlantic Records. The first, “Brace For Impact (Live A Little)” had a video released earlier this month. Simpson also provides the theme song for the new HBO series “Vinyl” produced by Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger, a track entitled “Sugar Daddy.” 

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