A Sailor's Guide to Earth

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A Sailor's Guide to Earth
Sturgill Simpson A Sailor's Guide To Earth.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 15, 2016 (2016-04-15)
StudioButcher Shoppe (Nashville)
ProducerSturgill Simpson
Sturgill Simpson chronology
Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
A Sailor's Guide to Earth
Singles from A Sailor's Guide to Earth
  1. "Brace for Impact (Live a Little)"
    Released: March 3, 2016
  2. "In Bloom"
    Released: March 24, 2016
  3. "Keep It Between the Lines"
    Released: January 30, 2017

A Sailor's Guide to Earth is the third studio album by American country singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson. It was announced on March 3, 2016, with the release of the single "Brace for Impact (Live a Little)". The album was released on April 15, 2016,[1] and won Best Country Album at the 59th Grammy Awards; it was also nominated for Album of the Year.[2]


Prior to the album's announcement, Simpson stated in an interview with GQ that "what's next is already finished... Quite honestly, I need about six months at home with my family."[3] On March 3, 2016, Simpson released "Brace for Impact (Live a Little)" on YouTube and his website; the next day he released the nine-song track list of A Sailor's Guide to Earth.[4] A week later, he published the music video for "Brace for Impact", which was directed by Matt Mahurin and contains the Grim Reaper, a hot rod coffin and sailboats.[5] On March 24, 2016, Simpson released his cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom" along with its music video, also directed by Matt Mahurin. Simpson said, "I wanted to make a very beautiful and pure homage to Kurt [Cobain]."[6] Streaming of the album became available on April 7, 2016, on NPR's official website.[7]

The song "Oh Sarah" was previously recorded by Simpson's former band Sunday Valley and appeared on their only full-length album, To the Wind and On To Heaven, in 2011.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[9]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[10]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[11]
The Guardian4/5 stars[12]
The Independent4/5 stars[13]
Mojo4/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[16]

A Sailor's Guide to Earth received widespread critical acclaim upon its release. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from music critics, the album has received an average score of 86, indicating "universal acclaim", based on 19 reviews.[8]

The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart, selling 52,000 copies (55,000 units when tracks and streams are included) in its first week.[19] The album sold a further 13,400 copies in the second week.[20] The album has sold 217,900 copies in the US as of October 2017.[21]

Following his Grammy win, Simpson saw a 346% increase in streaming on Spotify.[22]


Publication Accolade Year Rank Ref.
Paste The 50 Best Albums of 2016 2016
Rough Trade Albums of the Year 2016
Stereogum The 50 Best Albums of 2016 2016

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Sturgill Simpson except "In Bloom", which is written by Kurt Cobain.

1."Welcome to Earth (Pollywog)"4:53
2."Breakers Roar"3:33
3."Keep It Between the Lines"4:01
4."Sea Stories"3:17
5."In Bloom" (Nirvana cover)4:01
6."Brace for Impact (Live a Little)"5:49
7."All Around You"3:36
8."Oh Sarah"4:15
9."Call to Arms"5:30
Total length:38:54



Chart (2016) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[26] 108
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[27] 31
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[28] 66
Irish Albums (IRMA)[29] 39
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[30] 34
UK Albums (OCC)[31] 43
US Billboard 200[32] 3
US Folk Albums (Billboard)[33] 1
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[34] 1
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[35] 1


  1. ^ Matthew Strauss. "Sturgill Simpson Announces New Album A Sailor's Guide to Earth, Shares "Brace for Impact (Live a Little)"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  2. ^ "59th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees and Winners". The Grammys. 2016-12-06. Archived from the original on 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2016-12-08.
  3. ^ Will Welch (2016-01-07). "The GQ&A: Sturgill Simpson, Country Music's Psychedelic Warrior-Philosopher". GQ. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  4. ^ Carolyn Menyes (2016-03-04). "Sturgill Simpson Reveals 'A Sailor's Guide to Earth' Tracklist with Nirvana Cover & Tour Dates". Music Times. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  5. ^ Andrew Leahey (2016-03-10). "Watch Sturgill Simpson's Surreal 'Brace for Impact' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  6. ^ James Grebey (2016-03-24). "Listen to Sturgill Simpson's Country Cover of Nirvana's 'In Bloom'". Spin. Retrieved 2016-03-27.
  7. ^ Ann Powers (2016-04-07). "First Listen: Sturgill Simpson, 'A Sailor's Guide To Earth'". npr.org. NPR. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  8. ^ a b "A Sailor's Guide to Earth by Sturgill Simpson". Metacritic. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "A Sailor's Guide to Earth – Sturgill Simpson". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  10. ^ Chilton, Martin (2016-05-20). "Best country music albums of 2016". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  11. ^ Vain, Madison (2016-04-14). "Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide to Earth: EW Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
  12. ^ Hann, Michael (2016-04-14). "Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor's Guide to Earth review – hard-hitting country soul". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  13. ^ Gill, Andy (2016-04-13). "Album reviews – Lush, Graham Nash, Sturgill Simpson and Hauschka". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  14. ^ Chick, Stevie (2016-04-11). "Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor's Guide To Earth". Mojo. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  15. ^ Goble, Corban (2016-04-19). "Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor's Guide to Earth". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  16. ^ Hermes, Will (2016-04-14). "A Sailor's Guide to Earth". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  17. ^ Larson, Jeremy D. (2016-04-13). "Review: Sturgill Simpson Preps a Son of a Sailor on 'A Sailor's Guide to Earth'". Spin. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
  18. ^ Anderson, Jason (2016-05-13). "Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor's Guide To Earth". Uncut. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  19. ^ Caulfield, Keith (April 24, 2016). "Sturgill Simpson and Santana Debut in Top 10 on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  20. ^ Bjorke, Matt (May 5, 2016). "Country Album Chart Report: May 5, 2016". Roughstock.
  21. ^ Bjorke, Matt (October 10, 2017). "Top 10 Country Albums Sales Chart: October 9, 2017". Roughstock.
  22. ^ http://uk.businessinsider.com/william-bell-was-the-grammys-biggest-winner-according-to-spotify-2017-2?r=US&IR=T
  23. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2016". Paste. November 30, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  24. ^ "Albums of the Year". Rough Trade. November 14, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-11-16. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  25. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2016". Stereogum. December 1, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  26. ^ "Ultratop.be – Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor's Guide to Earth" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  27. ^ "Sturgill Simpson Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor's Guide to Earth" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  29. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 16, 2016". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  30. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor's Guide to Earth". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  31. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  32. ^ "Sturgill Simpson Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  33. ^ "Sturgill Simpson Chart History (Top Americana/Folk Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  34. ^ "Sturgill Simpson Chart History (Top Country Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  35. ^ "Sturgill Simpson Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 26, 2016.