High Top Mountain certainly leaned traditional, but it also set the precedent that Simpson was not an artist content to coast, was not someone just trying to write the easiest song to ride to the top. He was willing to put in the work, and hire $25,000 worth of studio time and band members to make his vision a reality, and didn’t very much care what happened next. Only that he’d done it. Freedom, as a famous country singer once wrote for Janis Joplin, is just another word for nothing left to lose. The most free performer we’ve had these last 10 years is Simpson, who took a trip to High Top Mountain and never came back down.