Sturgill Simpson Announces 5th Album ‘The Ballad of Dood & Juanita’
Sturgill Simpson has officially announced his 5th album named The Ballad of Dood & Juanita to be released on August 20th, and according to the hashtag accompanying the announcement, it will be “Yer Pawpaw’s country music.” The album appears to be titled after Sturgill’s grandparents. Lawrence “Dood” Fraley was Sturgill’s grandfather who was the inspiration behind his song “Hero,” and also appears in the introduction of his album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.
Sturgill says about the conceptualized album, “I Just wanted to write a story— not a collection of songs that tell a story, but an actual story, front to back. [This album is] a rollercoaster ride through all the styles of traditional country and bluegrass and mountain music that I love, including gospel and a capella. It is a simple tale of either redemption or revenge.”
Sturgill has always espoused that he would release only five albums in his career, and this would make the 5th—though this doesn’t count side projects and other releases, including his two recent bluegrass volumes under the Cuttin’ Grass title. Whether the ultimately holds to that plan or not and The Ballad of Dood & Juanita ends up being his final album, the release is likely to be a significant one in his trajectory either way.
Sturgill Simpson said back in February that he was done writing the new record, but he was going to take his time recording it. So either he found that time, or the timeline got moved up for another reason. Either way, The Ballad of Dood & Juanita will be here August 20th digitally and on CD via Thirty Tigers, with vinyl showing up on December 3rd due to the tremendous backlog in the vinyl market at the moment.
“I’m already pretty much done writing my next record now,” Sturgill told Relix in February, “I’m gonna take my sweet-ass time on this one because I’m pretty sure I’m about to make my opus and then bow out and vaporize like Houdini. I’ve put out three records in about a year, so I feel like I owe myself and the music a little space to really hunker down with the subject matter. That’s really all I can say, but I’m going to take my time because, for so many reasons, I finally have the time. That’s the bittersweet thing. What monumentally has been the shittiest, strangest, most surreal year of my lifetime has also been the most gratifying and greatest year of my career.”
Sturgill went onto address if he would make more albums than five in the interview, saying, “At a certain point, I don’t want to say I’ll never make another record, but this five-album narrative was really clear when I moved to Nashville. My wife really helped me carve that out, in terms of how to go about the beginning, middle and end for each chapter. But then after that, I am not sure. I love the studio. I like sleeping in my bed. I like seeing other people succeed. And I really love helping other people succeed—people like Tyler [Childers]or Margo [Price] or Lucette or anybody else who would be willing to work with me. I can’t think of any other greater way to use the knowledge or experience—or whatever you want to call it—that I’ve gained from the last seven or eight years, then by helping other people who I’m already impressed with make more music that will improve the musical landscape, as opposed to just 20 more Sturgill records.”
Often when talking about his “five album plan,” Sturgill has mentioned the final installment would go back to his roots after the more expansive, Grammy-winning A Sailor’s Guide to Earth in 2016, and the full-tilt rock and roll of 2019’s Sound & Fury.
Sturgill Simpson has also been getting into acting, and it was announced in April that he would be appearing in the new Martin Scorsese film Killers of the Flower Moon.
The Ballad of Dood & Juanita is now available for pre-order.
2. “Ol’ Dood” (part I)
3. “One in the Saddle, One on the Ground”
5. “Played Out”
7. “Juanita” (featuring Willie Nelson)
8. “Go in Peace”
10. “Ol’ Dood” (part II)
July 21, 2021 @ 7:24 am
July 21, 2021 @ 7:28 am
Oh man I’m so excited for this
July 21, 2021 @ 7:30 am
Red headed stranger
July 21, 2021 @ 7:39 am
I struggle with concept albums. Even with the ones I really like, the individual tracks don’t end up in my rotation. I hope the songs stand on their own.
July 21, 2021 @ 8:59 am
Most of the time I feel the same, with a couple notable exceptions being Red Headed Stranger and Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways by The White Buffalo. There are individual tracks on those I listen to regularly. I hope this new Sturgill album falls into that category for me too.
July 21, 2021 @ 7:41 am
This is great news!!
July 21, 2021 @ 8:10 am
The fact it’s named after his grandparents give me even more high hope on this album, especially because of the influence his grandpa had on him
July 21, 2021 @ 8:24 am
weird, i thought he gave up on country music. at least that’s what i read in the comments here.
July 21, 2021 @ 9:54 am
Lol. Those a cappella songs are going to be rough for the crowd that stopped being able to understand him after Metamodern.
July 21, 2021 @ 9:32 am
Not a fan of his recent (original) albums, but I’m very interested in this. Especially because he seems to have put a lot into it and because to me he’s much better at making country than rock.
July 21, 2021 @ 9:56 am
One in the saddle one on the ground has to be about having one foot on the road and one at home, right? Maybe not directly but at least allegorically as it fits the story. I’m psyched.
July 21, 2021 @ 10:01 am
This one is going to be interesting, and it sounds like a cool concept.
Probably not going to be one that you’ll pull many singles off of, especially because I know what his version of “mountain” and “gospel” music sounds like. But, if this is indeed it, I doubt he lays an egg here.
Looking forward to it.
July 21, 2021 @ 10:59 am
The only egg Sturgill has laid musically is in his Tyler Childers productions
mouths of babes
July 21, 2021 @ 11:40 am
I’m confused. Is laying an egg good or bad?
Personally, I love eggs. I eat them cooked all sorts of different ways.
July 21, 2021 @ 10:37 am
Something tells me this is going to be good.
July 21, 2021 @ 10:50 am
Sturgill has had some good songs on some of his albums but I have not really heard a standout album from him as yet. I don’t think he is anything special and there are others who impress me much more (Cody Jinks, Colter Wall etc). His bluegrass albums have been his best but others have released better. This sounds interesting and worth a listen.
July 21, 2021 @ 11:26 am
I’d love to make an album as non-standout as Metamodern.
July 21, 2021 @ 11:42 am
It for me had a couple of good tracks but overall did not really impress me much. Having read such good things about it, perhaps my expectations were too high. Maybe it is time to give it another listen! Other artists have impressed me from the beginning with their voice and the music. Sturgill has just not done so ……yet!
July 21, 2021 @ 8:28 pm
You might be young, or not hit maturity yet. Take it to a nice camp site and listen to it a few times
July 21, 2021 @ 11:49 pm
If only I had not hit maturity! Long ago. It might be you have a different opinion. I can respect others might have a different opinion but I might not agree with it. I don’t as it happens. I have heard worse than Sturgill though but many better.
July 21, 2021 @ 11:55 am
That’s nonsense. I don’t like the guys politics but he blows Colter wall out of the water. And cody
July 21, 2021 @ 12:39 pm
We agree to disagree! I think Cody blows them all out of the water! All opinion, your opinion is no more nonsense than mine.
July 21, 2021 @ 6:05 pm
LOL Nobody blows Cody out of the water, especially with that Sound and Fury horseshit.
Dude’s a fucking egomaniac. Hard pass for me.
July 21, 2021 @ 8:03 pm
He’s definitely that. Cody’s up there, but Colter only has a few songs I’m really into
July 21, 2021 @ 8:43 pm
Cody jinks is garbage
July 22, 2021 @ 7:00 am
Ya know, I don’t think he’s garbage. I buy his albums, but I don’t get the praise that he receives.
July 22, 2021 @ 1:10 pm
That statement speaks more to who you are as an individual and your shallow taste in music. Now go back to being a good little cuck and listen to Sound and Fury or whatever piss ass pandering, over inflated ego, narcissistic “artist” you subject yourself to.
August 21, 2021 @ 7:12 pm
Sound & Fury is definitely his standout record for me. I think that one is super cool, love it.
July 21, 2021 @ 10:51 am
Do you pace around at 2 in the morning dwelling on what someone says in a Comments section on the Internets?
July 21, 2021 @ 10:54 am
Hope this is a good album
July 21, 2021 @ 11:56 am
Hopefully he doesn’t ruin it with his garbage liberal politics.
July 21, 2021 @ 10:01 pm
July 22, 2021 @ 6:06 am
The way you’re ruining the comments section?
July 22, 2021 @ 10:21 am
You got me
July 22, 2021 @ 8:21 am
Personally, I hope the entire album is just a reading of Das Kapital in a thick Kentucky accent set to a single banjo pluck in the background.
July 22, 2021 @ 9:21 am
Colt my man you’re why this is the only place I come for country music news
July 21, 2021 @ 12:36 pm
Cautiously optimistic about this one but Simpson’s “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit so five albums is all yer gettin’” martyr shtick is a bit much.
I realize he owes us nothing, but when he’s spent so much time shit talking and telling us what’s wrong with country music over the course of his relatively short music career, you’d think he’d utilize his musical talents a little better and give the fans a little more faith and commitment going into the future.
I get that he wants to get into production and acting a bit more but, man, that’s like Jordan quitting the NBA to go play mediocre baseball.
Wilson Pick It
July 21, 2021 @ 1:08 pm
I like the five album idea. You want to be cancelling Happy Days before the Fonz jumps the shark.
It sounds like he’ll end up in some Highwaymen type project where he’s collaborating with others.
A peak rarely lasts for longer than 5 albums anyway.
July 21, 2021 @ 2:28 pm
Kind of surprised there’s no references to The Andy Griffith Show considering that name. I wonder if the Juanita song is going to go Juanita Juanita Lovely dear Juanite from your head down to your feet there ain’t nothing half as sweet
July 22, 2021 @ 1:22 pm
Guess no one told you there are two things you don’t criticize to a man’s face – one of them is his grandmother’s name!
July 21, 2021 @ 5:34 pm
In a ten day span, we are getting a Mike and The Moonpies, Sturgill Simpson, and James McMurtry album. What a great month August will be.
July 21, 2021 @ 10:12 pm
Plus Cody announced yesterday singles from both his albums will start coming out at the end of August
July 22, 2021 @ 6:11 am
So two whole albums don’t count as albums? They’re “side projects”, but they’re whole albums. This “five albums” thing sounds like bullshit. So he’s only 43 and he’s never going to make another album in possibly the next 30 to 40 to 50 years? Yeah. Sounds like bullshit. I’m looking forward to hearing some of these tracks though.
July 22, 2021 @ 7:00 am
It is the same thing with Tarantino saying his next movie is his last. I guess we will see what happens. In the meantime, I will just be excited for this record.
July 22, 2021 @ 9:51 am
I mean, I could legit see Tarantino not making another movie. He’s 58 and will likely be almost or already 60 by the time his “final” movie comes out. I could see him being one of those guys who decides to take all his money and move to some island somewhere and live the good life for the last 30 years of his life.
I also don’t buy this being Sturgill’s last album. I expect this will be a Windows/Microsoft deal where Microsoft promised when Windows 10 came out that it would be the “last” version of Windows, but now we have Windows 11 on the horizon. Sturgill does seem like a guy who marches to his own drum and, bluntly, seems to have a better understanding of work/life balance than most musicians, but I can’t see him turning off the creative juices just yet..
July 22, 2021 @ 9:57 am
I could see him maybe doing one more album years down the road, like Trig said he’s been big into producing these days so maybe he’ll be like Dr. Dre and go that route. I can definitely understand the pessimistic view though because Sturgill has been an unreliable narrator on several occasions
July 22, 2021 @ 12:28 pm
Someone’s always got to say “I don’t always agree with his politics” regarding the informed intelligent song writers like Steve Earle, Isbell and Sturgill don’t they? These people consume media that convinces them to deny what they see with their own eyes.
July 22, 2021 @ 8:44 pm
You’re right. Earle, Isbell and Simpson all consume media (like you do, obviously) that convinces them to deny what they see with their own eyes.
Earle is a great writer, as is Isbell (but calling them informed is laughable); I enjoy their music, but they are mental midgets politically. Simpson is just a clown all the way around. 😉
It’s best to separate the politics from the music. It’s hard, but you can do it MolestoRoy
Billy Wayne Ruddick
July 22, 2021 @ 2:04 pm
This should be interesting. I’m still hoping we get a Sturgill – produced Ben Haggard album at some point too!
July 23, 2021 @ 2:47 pm
I would prefer to hear something Ben produced himself. But if that is what it takes I would still immediately buy it.
July 22, 2021 @ 4:58 pm
This album has to suck, just by the song titles. Sturgill is a bit of a nut job, albeit a talented one! He could have done so much if he would have stuck to true country music. But, he’s a psychopath that can’t accept that he’s never going to get the recognition he thinks he deserves, so he lashes out and goes in a too many directions artistically. He acts like a spoiled child. He didn’t get any IBMA nominations because those folks have enough pride and common sense that he doesn’t really give a shit about Bluegrass. He just wanted attention and those two albums (awesome in many ways) were an attention grab by a petulant man.
July 23, 2021 @ 6:58 am
Interesting take on the IBMA nominations. When he released the bluegrass albums, I wondered if they would be recognized by the IBMA. I’m not a bluegrass aficionado, just a casual listener, but I think at least 1 of his songs would have qualified. Nor have I read anything from the bluegrass “industry” regarding the albums – maybe I’ve missed them?????
Bill from WI
July 23, 2021 @ 8:21 am
Check out bluegrasstoday.com and search on “Simpson”. He got good reviews for both bluegrass albums.
July 24, 2021 @ 11:02 am
We can blame Record Store Day for the tremendous backlog of records waiting to be pressed. Record Store Day and it’s hundred’s of meaningless and outright ridiculous titles clog up the handful of pressing plants left for a good chunk of the year. This gets directly in the way of bands wanting product for tours or for seasonal releases(summer, Christmas etc). On top of that, the major labels don’t even want to deal with vinyl. At all. And I should know. I just quit the industry.
Oh, and I’m looking forward to this release by the way.
July 24, 2021 @ 12:24 pm
This is very true. I wrote rants about Record Store Day years ago and got called anti-independent music for it (ha!), and now it’s really coming home to roost with the vinyl shortage. This has deeper importance as well, which is now that vinyl product doesn’t ship until months later, it affects how these independent artists chart. Sturgill would probably be a shoo-in for a #1 or at least a Top 5 with this title. But since vinyl shipments will be delayed, it’ll probably end up 6 or 7. We’ll see.
I also think it’s important to note that with the super quick turnaround time from the announcement to release, something tells me Sturgill presented this to Thirty Tigers, said “release it yesterday,” and they’re doing their best to facilitate everything. If you give yourself six months lead time, you still can have vinyl on the day of release.
August 20, 2021 @ 2:18 pm
Wow, perhaps Sturgill should stop listening to his wife and make decisions about his albums himself? I’m very surprised to hear there is supposedly a “5-album narrative,” as I couldn’t imagine his albums so far being more disjointed. I’m saying as a HUGE Sturgill Simpson fan. But he clearly should stick to what he does best, and that’s old-school alt country. Sailor’s guide is a very personal album, and too personal in my view. I never warmed up to it, as much as I wanted to buy it. Sound and Fury is just plain shit, and I won’t hold it against him, but let’s just pretend it was never recorded. So that leaves us with three albums, since those two don’t count. Two more to go! 😀
August 21, 2021 @ 7:19 pm
Have you heard his take on the 5 album narrative he’s working on? Each one is meant to represent a different part of the soul’s journey as viewed by the West. Literally life, death, rebirth, hell and heaven (I believe). Sound & fury was the hell album. Honestly it’s also my favorite. I don’t know…I just really like the psychedelic rock record he made. It’s my most listened to Sturgill record for sure.