Simpson self-produced A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. It was recorded primarily at the Butcher Shoppe in Nashville with engineer David Ferguson (Johnny Cash, John Prine) and assistant engineer Sean Sullivan. The album features Simpson’s touring band, as well as Dave Roe on bass, Dan Dugmore on steel guitar, Dougie Wilkinson on bagpipes, Garo Yellin and Arthur Cook on cello, Jonathan Dinklage and Whitney LaGrange on violin, and special guests the Dap-Kings. His audacious cover of Nirvana’s In Bloom, meanwhile, locates new poignancy within Cobain’s familiar lyric, that last line of the chorus – swallowed by noise on the original – now revealed as, “He don’t know what it means, to love someone.” And that’s the guiding force for the album, its ultimate motif being love’s power to so profoundly change a life. It’s a grand, earnest theme to tackle, risking mawkishness along the way, but Simpson invests this bold, widescreen music with such heartfelt and real pathos and joy that it announces him as a major talent, and makes A Sailor’s Guide To Earth so rewarding.