Whiskey & Vinyl: Eagle Rare 10 Year and Sturgill Simpson’s ‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music’

Jim Casey01/27/23
Whiskey & Vinyl: Eagle Rare 10 Year and Sturgill Simpson Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

(photo by Outsider)

Vinyl has a richness and depth that you just can’t get from digital formats. But its greatest attribute, in my humble opinion, is it basically forces you to listen to an album as it was intended, track by track. True, you’ve got to flip the record after five tracks, but that’s the perfect time to refill your whiskey glass. And that’s one reason whiskey and vinyl are so harmonious together.

And speaking of richness and depth, today we’re sipping on Eagle Rare 10-Year Bourbon Whiskey while we spin Sturgill Simpson’s sophomore album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Eagle Rare and Sturgill—just a couple of Kentucky luminaries “Living the Dream” (see what I did there?).

Stick around for the highlights.

Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon Whiskey

  • Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • Location: Frankfort, KY
  • Style: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Age: 10 Years
  • Proof: 90
  • MSRP: $35
  • Full Review
(photo by Outsider)

The nose on Eagle Rare opens like a bouquet of in-season fruit blossoms, with plenty of sweet cherry, pear, and apricot. There’s nary a hint of ethanol. Instead, it’s just the mellow sweetness of fruit with a touch of caramel and light oak (I could be describing Sturgill’s voice here, too). Initially, the palate follows suit with notes of cherry, oak, and light brown sugar. A little bit of chewing reveals a touch of white pepper and piney citrus, which, together with the aforementioned cherry and brown sugar, evokes an herbal fruit tea. Enjoyable, to say the least.

And really, my only quibble is the fleeting finish, which doesn’t give you much time to discern or relish the modicum of light cinnamon heat and raw almond. Instead, it immediately beckons you to sip again—while you spin some Sturgill, of course.

‘Metamodern Sounds in Country Music’

(photo by Outsider)
  • Artist: Sturgill Simpson
  • Year: 2014
  • Producer: Dave Cobb
  • RIAA: Gold Certified
  • Awards: 2015 Americana Artist of the Year, 2015 Americana Song of the Year (“Turtles All the Way Down”), 2015 Grammy nomination Best Americana Album

You definitely needed a vinyl copy of Metamodern Sounds in Country Music in 2014. Because it sure didn’t’ get played on country radio, despite being the best country album of the year, in my opinion. In fact, Rolling Stone recently named Metamodern No. 25 on its list of the 100 Greatest Country Albums of All Time.

Despite dropping his debut album less than one year before, Sturgill really opened some ears with Metamodern. His mellow, baritone vocals and philosophically cryptic lyrics harnessed the hard-hitting power of a bygone era in a decade dominated by bro-centric country. Ol’ Sturg was the real deal—musician (his guitar chops are amazing), songwriter, vocalist. His music was as original as the bourbon that flows thorough his home state of Kentucky, despite all of the ready-made comparisons to his Outlaw Country predecessors.

Metamodern‘s cosmic journey blasts off with the opening track “Turtles All the Way Down.” And while you could enjoy this hallucinogenic-filled ride on digital repeat all day, the turntable’s needle navigates your journey to standout tracks like “Living the Dream,” “The Promise, and “Long White Line.” The album is 34 minutes of richness and depth. My only complaint? I wish it was longer.