English pop group When In Rome still gets a fair amount of throwback radio love for “The Promise” – its infectious (one and only) hit from 1988. But last month, neotraditional country singer songwriter Sturgill Simpson gave the song some new life with the release of his sophomore album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (Amazon & Spotify). The album includes Simpson’s ominous, slow country rendition of the song, which I think is actually more appropriate for its lyrics than the radio-friendly creation of its creators (though this one is not danceable at all). His final chorus (3:38) is absolutely chilling in the best possible way. Late last week, Simpson released a video for the song with some trippy light and dye treatments that I like a lot (below).
Simpson has been exploding as of late with a recent performance on Letterman and shout outs from mainstream pubs like USA TODAY and Rolling Stone, which halfway suggested that his Jennings-esqe sound is the savior of country music. We write about good country all the time, so not sure what all that’s about (and he agrees btw), but he’s a badass for sure. You can catch Simpson at the Bowery Ballroom on July 9th with Pokey Lafarge.