19 Rules from Sturgill Simpson to His Son That Can Be Applied to Everyone


Sturgill Simpson’s newest album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, is a deeply personal album and is basically one long letter to his son. Drawing from his time in the Navy and a letter his grandfather wrote his grandmother, Simpson tells his son he loves him, offers up advice and does it all while growing as an artist and showcasing his first-rate songwriting skills.

Though each of the nine songs on the album offer up a glimpse into Sturgill’s thinking, “Keep It Between the Lines” acts as a list of DOs and DON’Ts for his son, noting, “Do as I say, don’t do as I’ve done / It don’t have to be, like a father, like his son.”

Simpson’s other, more direct rules can also be applied to the rest of us just trying to make it through life. (Though hopefully, some of us already know these things.)

  1. Don’t turn mailboxes into baseballs
  2. Don’t get busted selling at 17
  3. Most thoughts deserve about two or three more
  4. Motor oil is motor oil, just keep your engine clean
  5. Keep your eyes on the prize
  6. Everything will be fine, long as you stay in school
  7. Stay off the hard stuff
  8. And keep between the lines
  9. Don’t burn two lanterns at the same time
  10. No ship out on the water will pay your rent
  11. Do as I say, don’t do as I’ve done
  12. Don’t let them try to upsell you– There’s a reason they make chocolate and vanilla, too
  13. If there’s any doubt, there is no doubt
  14. The gut don’t never lie
  15. And the only word you’ll ever need to know in life is “why”
  16. Keep your head out of the clouds
  17. And remember to be kind
  18. Stay off the drugs
  19. Don’t sweat the small stuff