Sturgill Simpson Confirms Vocal Chord Rupture & Hemorrhage

It appears Sturgill Simpson will not be singing or returning to the stage for quite a while. After first losing his voice on September 19th right before a show at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC as part of the Willie Nelson-led Outlaw Festival, Sturgill Simpson subsequently cancelled a string of shows, telling fans he couldn’t sing, and hoping it was nothing serious. Now we know that unfortunately it is.

“Turns out I did in fact unfortunately hemorrhage / rupture my vocal chords after all. I am currently getting the best treatment available and should fully recover, but its gonna be a long hot minute before I can return to stage,” Sturgill said in an Instagram post late Wednesday night (9/29), accompanied by a videostroboscopy image of a classic ruptured vocal chord.

The vocal issue forced Sturgill to call off appearances on September 22nd in Alpharetta, GA, and September 24th in Columbia, MD, both part of Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Fest. He also cancelled his appearance at 2021’s Farm Aid in Hartford, CT on September 25th. Tyler Childers filled in on the later Outlaw Fest dates.

Then as Sturgill’s voice issue did not improve, he was forced to cancel a high anticipated five-night residency at Webster Hall in New York September 28th to October 2nd, as well as a three-night run at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville November 18th to 20th.

Vocal chords are made up of multi-layer folds of flesh that contain very fine blood vessels. Sometimes when the voice is used to forcefully or too often, the delicate blood vessels in the vocal cord burst open, and leak blood into the vocal cord. Sometimes surgery is necessary, and sometimes extended vocal rest can heal the injury naturally.

“I just wanted to turn this thing back on for about 15 seconds to say I’m sorry to everyone that had tickets to the remaining shows and to thank everyone that has supported me over the years,” Sturgill Simpson said on Instagram, which he posts on and then deletes afterwards. “It’s been an incredibly fun, rewarding, and educational journey. I played all the venues I dreamed about playing as a kid, met all my heroes, even became friends with most of them, and got to work and play with some of the finest musicians on the planet over the years.”

Sturgill took a reflective note in his missive, and has confirmed that his most recent album The Ballad of Dood & Juanita would be his final solo album after a five-album career. But it’s unlikely Sturgill Simpson will stay away forever, either in the studio or on the stage. He’s implied that at some point he will start a band, as well as continue his duties as a producer. And perhaps, he might also delve into other extra curricular activities.

“Now I can finally really focus on other pursuits and areas of passionate becoming the best hitman I can be.”

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