You’ve read the (exciting) news, you’ve seen the (iconic) album cover, and now it’s time to hear the music. That’s right: Sturgill Simpson’s first bluegrass album is out now.
Simpson, who survived what appeared to be a rough go with coronavirus earlier this year, was never exactly a straitlaced country singer, but the Kentucky iconoclast has ventured pretty far from his hallucinatory Americana roots in recent years. You may recall that last year’s Sound & Fury was a cyborg ZZ Top rave-up with a full-length anime visual component and a graphic novel. Coming off a release like that, a bluegrass record is quite the pivot.
Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 – The Butcher Shoppe Sessions comprises 20 tracks from throughout Simpson’s discography, re-imagined with a cast of crack bluegrass players. It’s being released through High Top Mountain Records via Thirty Tigers/The Orchard, which suggests Simpson wasn’t kidding when he said he was “done” with Elektra Records earlier this year because “they don’t know what the fuck to do with me.” Although Cuttin’ Grass was supposed to be a surprise drop, as Simpson wrote on Instagram this week, “somebody somewhere (Germany) got all excited and just couldn’t hold their horses.” Regardless, it still arrives completely unheard on short notice, so, good enough. Dig into the album below.
Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 – The Butcher Shoppe Sessions is out now on High Top Mountain Records via Thirty Tigers/The Orchard. Between this an his work as producer on Margo Price’s album, Simpson is having quite the interesting 2020.