Sturgill Simpson at Zanzabar – photo by Jessica Blankenship
If you know me, one thing I love to attend besides concerts are car shows. This past week I got to see and meet Sturgill Simpson in concert, as well as head down to Pigeon Forge for their annual Rod Run. Both were experiences in themselves. I’ll share more on the Pigeon Forge journeys later on.
I have never been to the Zanzabar in Louisville before. And now I wish I had been. What a cool place! It was full of arcade games, pinball games, checkerboard tile, and some of the best tater tots I have ever eaten. I have no clue what they seasoned them with, but those alongside a grilled cheese sandwich fit the bill. Oh, and the musical choices. I also got to run into a couple of ole pals while at the show.
Sturgill Simpson ended up playing a solo acoustic set for a little more than an hour. Of course, there were the two “man fans” that honestly were a pure annoyance and distraction. You know the kind – the idiots on the front row that are taller than everyone else, screaming, clapping, singing along loudly…and it was a solo acoustic gig. Sturgill jokingly made the remark that they were being annoying to everyone and distracting.
There is something unique about Sturgill’s vocals that I cannot explain. They are pure and from southeast Kentucky, need I say more. Where else could you hear a Stanley Brother’s classic alongside Neil Diamond, then back to Keith Whitley, and then original written tunes? It was a musical journey that Sturgill Simpson put his own personal stamp on. Let’s just say, it got my approval.
Afterwards, I got to speak with Sturgill for a bit. Needless to stay, it was treat and honor to meet him and share a few stories. Be sure to check him out and keep his name in your mind. He just played SXSW and will be at several large festivals this year. Looks like the Kentucky native is making a name for himself. His new album will be out this summer as well. Bonus – here is Sturgill on WFPK out of Louisville, KY
Sturgill Simpson and I in front of the cool arcade games!
Where else will you find a Star Trek and Dolly Parton Pinball Machine?!
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.