That bastard did it again. Just as country and bluegrass fans were just settling in for a long Winter’s nap Thursday evening (12-10), alerts started going off that Sturgill Simpson wasn’t just messing with us when he titled his recent Cuttin’ Grass album Vol. 1. Just as he did with the first installment, Vol. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions) has just populated across streaming platforms as a surprise release.
“On Volume 2, we recorded everything I was too afraid to do on Volume 1… It’s hard to deny that this is a much more personal record. I was thinking about my kids, my grandfather, my wife,” Sturgill says of the album. It includes numerous tracks from his Grammy award-winning album from 2016, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, which he wrote after the passing of his grandfather, the birth of his first son, and includes the song “Oh Sarah” about his wife, first recorded in his band Sunday Valley.
Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 2 also includes a version of the song “You Can Have The Crown” that Sturgill had previously retired from performing, with a slight lyrics change. The album also ends with a song called “Hobo Cartoon,” which Sturgill says was co-written with Merle Haggard. Named after the infamous Cowboy Arms Hotel and Recording Spa where Country Music Hall of Famer and producer “Cowboy” Jack Clement plied his craft for many years, the record features and additional 11 songs from the Sturgill Simpson repertoire done bluegrass style.
In a recent interview, Sturgill Simpson revealed his plans to tour with the bluegrass music once COVID-19 restrictions lift.
Simpson challenged his fans to raise money for The Special Forces Foundation and various other charities through May and June, incentivizing them by promising to play a live stream, and release a new record (or records) if they reached certain goals. He subsequently performed a bluegrass set at the Ryman Auditorium in June, and later cut Vol. 1 at The Butcher Shoppe recording studio in Nashville. It was the last album cut in the studio, forcing Sturgill to find a new studio for Vol. 2.
Joining Sturgill Simpson are bluegrass pickers Stuart Duncan, Mike Bub, Sierra Hull, Scott Vestal, Tim O’Brien and Mark Howard. Sturgill’s drummer Miles Miller was also part of the session.
Sturgill appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday night (12-10) performing from The Station Inn in Nashville with the studio band after Kimmel officially announced the new album. Sturgill also teased the release a few minutes before it dropped on Instagram.
The album is being released on High Top Mountain Records via Thirty Tigers. Physical copies are now available for pre-order.
1. Call To Arms
2. Brace for Impact (Live a Little)
3. Oh Sarah
4. Sea Stories
6. Welcome To Earth (Pollywog)
7. Jesus Boogie
8. Keep It Between The Lines
9. You Can Have The Crown
11. Some Days
12. Hobo Cartoon