The album that many consider Sturgill Simpson's magnum opus, and the one that ended up being called Saving Country Music’s # 1 album of the past decade, has now received a slightly more significant accolade as it has been officially certified as Certified Gold by the RIAA, or Recording Industry Association of America. This means that the title has officially sold over 500,000 copies in both physical sales and download and streaming. It was officially certified on September 23rd.
Released in 2014, Metamodern Sounds was Sturgill Simpsons breakout release, helping to get it known in country music and beyond. Not only was Metamodern Sounds well received by critics, it also helped fuel a cultural revolution in country music that was overwhelmed by bro-country in the mainstream at the time. The album inspired Chris Stapleton to record his album Traveler in the same way as Sturgill – with a small band and mostly live with producer Dave Cobb. It sparked renewed interest in country music that couldn't be found on the radio.
The album got its title of Modern Sounds in Country Music by Ray Charles, the 1962 album that introduced many to country music. Metamodern sounds also led many to the other side of country music, where traditionalism was still to be found, but with a modern kick. It was recorded at the time with Sturgill's road band, including guitarist Laur Joamets, bassist Kevin Black and drummer Miles Miller.
Although it was Sturgill Simpson's next album, A Sailor's Guide to Earth, that earned him a Grammy Award for Best Country Album and a nomination for All Genre Album of the Year alongside Beyonce, Just Bieber, Adele and Drake , it was the dynamics of the Metamodern Sounds that got him there, and as time has testified, it remains his most popular track. The album also includes one of Sturgill's signature songs, "Turtles All The Way Down".
Sturgill Simpson joins a number of artists he inspired in country music who have now received RIAA certifications despite a lack of mainstream radio support, including Tyler Childers, Cody Jinks and Whiskey Myers. The Josh Abbott Band, The Dead South, The Avett Brothers and Wheeler Walker Jr. have also made gold records in recent years, indicating the growing market share of independent artists.
In the coming decades there will be a few select albums that we refer to as culturally significant in country music that stand out from the crowd of releases. Metamodern sounds in country music are sure to be one of them. And now sales have finally caught up with their influence.