Sturgill Simpson: “I’m Pretty Much Done Writing My Next Record.”

Sturgill Simpson rarely gives interviews. But he participated in a rather lengthy one recently for the cover story of Relix where he revealed quite a few details about his plans for music in the future. In the interview, Sturgill says his next album is written, but to not expect it anytime soon. He also gives an update on his overall plans with music in the future.

“I’m already pretty much done writing my next record now,” he says, but cautions, “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.”

Many long-time Sturgill fans know that he’s touted a five-album plan for his career, with his last original studio record Sound & Fury being his fourth, and his two bluegrass albums from 2020 reprising his original songs in bluegrass form for Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 were detours from that original plan. Though it sounds like he’s still planning on sticking to the five-album plan, he’s also leaving open the possibility of extending it if he so desires, while also continuing to put an emphasis on producing records, like he’s done for Tyler Childers and Margo Price recently.

“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,” Sturgill says. “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.”

Sturgill also has other things he’d like to do in the coming years, including perhaps going to college.

“I’ve got a lot of plans. There are a lot of things I’m interested in and that I really enjoy outside of music. I love music but it’s a release for me, it’s catharsis. I learned at a young age to use it as an escape. So when I’m not feeling that I need that escape, then I’m in a very happy place. It’s good to step away sometimes and just live life. There are a lot of other things that I’m really into and that I want to pursue and get better at. And, to do that, I need time to study. Honestly, man, nobody in my family has ever graduated from college. At some point in my life, I would like to go to school and get a degree. I feel like that would make me feel very good and accomplished in some regard.”

Sturgill has also said in the past that once the COVID-19 restrictions lift completely (but not before), he’s planning to go on a big tour, including touring with his bluegrass music. Sturgill talks extensively about bluegrass in the Relix cover story.

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