Sturgill Simpson

The 100 Best Songs Of 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Welcome to a whopper of a mixtape. If you've been living under the rock 2020 dropped on all of us back in March and spent the last nine months finding comfort in the sounds of your childhood (hell, even 2019), we have some good news for you: As crappy as this year has been for anyone with a shred of empathy, the jams were ample. When the news cycle had us at a loss for words, we found quiet songs to speak for us. When we wanted to smile without looking at our phones, buoyant distractions abounded.

The Recording Academy announced its 2021 Grammy nominations on Tuesday, with Beyonce, rising pop star Dua Lipa and stoner superstar Post Malone leading a diffuse field.

Beyonce features on two songs in the record of the year category, which essentially rewards the year's best single: the remix of Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" and her own "Black Parade." The latter was also nominated for song of the year, which is awarded to the winner's songwriters.

In the first, anonymous year he lived in Nashville, Sturgill Simpson would head out from his ugly apartment to the Station Inn every Sunday night. The man who'd go on to define a new lane with his 2014 breakthrough Metamodern Sounds in Country Music and win a Grammy for his follow up, A Sailor's Guide to Earth, would sit within a circle of folding chairs – like an A.A. meeting, people might joke, but for those addicted to hot licks and tight harmonies – and play bluegrass.

To celebrate the end of 2019, we are publishing a special edition of Heavy Rotation – our popular, monthly series that features songs public radio can't stop playing. This list of songs is ranked in order, using spin counts compiled from our various member stations across the country. Here are the most popular thirty songs from another music-filled year in public radio.

On Sept. 27, Sturgill Simpson released his new album, Sound & Fury — a slate of rage-fueled rock songs and an accompanying anime film which shares the title. Set to the album's music, the film takes place in a dystopian world, filled with fire and fast cars, an animated visual bonanza that takes the anger of the album as its driving narrative engine. This pairing — mildly surprising, maybe, for a country star — was released on Netflix, which has been amassing an arsenal of music-related projects for the last few years.

Every Tuesday, The Spy adds new music to its rotation. Here are the adds for the week of September 3, 2019. This week's playlist includes a collaborative song from Thom Yorke and Flea, Bombay Bicycle Club's first new song in five years, a track from Sturgill Simpson's upcoming film, and so much more.

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If Sturgill Simpson seemed like an unlikely country star before — back when the Kentuckian was showcasing his rambl

The Tree of Forgiveness, his first album of originals in 13 years, is not just classic John Prine. When so much of humanity seems closed off, Prine knows when to be a little goofy, too.

Images of Kentucky are often reduced to coal miners, bourbon, horse-racing and Loretta Lynn. This year, Oxford American magazine has dedicated its annual music issue entirely to Kentucky, and it explores soul jazz, punk rock, rap and more from the Bluegrass State.

Tonight, the Americana Music Festival will host the 16th annual Americana Music Association Honors & Awards show, honoring the singers, songwriters and instrumentalists in the field of American roots music (including alternative country, folk, bluegrass and blues & R&B). The ceremony, hosted once again by Jim Lauderdale, will be held at the Ryman Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. CST/7:30 p.m. EST. NPR Music, World Cafe Nashville and WMOT are providing this exclusive live web stream.

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