Sturgill Simpson was in the middle of the largest tour of his life. His left-field Sound & Fury record, while extremely polarizing to some fans, took him to new popularity which led to a worldwide arena tour with fellow star, Tyler Childers opening up. A man who cut his teeth playin in honky-tonks and clubs was suddenly in a 4 piece, LOUD, rock n roll band playing his ass off on the guitar when the world suddenly came to a halt. As government leaders across the country banned large gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, tours stopped dead in their tracks. The Sound & Fury tour was over much like the record itself, fast and FURIOUS.
Simpson has been relatively steadfast in his 5-album plan. He’s already teased his pending retirement. He’s talked about the career arc of 5 albums and then fading into obscurity. Being 4 records deep into his career, fans have been timid when asking for more music from Simpson, knowing that when it comes, it could be for the last time.
As the national quarantine period raged on, everyone had to adapt to the new world. Simpson, who had been off social media suddenly made an appearance on instagram posting satirical videos as a fictional survival skills teacher aka “dick daddy.” It wasn’t long before people around the country followed his lead and were posting videos of their inner dick daddy. Soon, the DDSS, Dick Daddy Survival School, became an accidental cult. Simpson decided to turn it into action by selling merch with all proceeds going to COVID-19 relief and a fundraiser close to his heart, the Special Forces Foundation. Overwhelmed by the support, Simpson then promised an hour long live stream and a new album in the fall.
The livestream was at the Ryman Auditorium where Simpson, in a blue University of Kentucky crewneck emerged with one of the “best bluegrass bands ever assembled” flanked to his sides. The show was a glimpse into what he had been recording at Nashville’s legendary studio, The Butcher Shoppe owned and operated by engineer Dave Ferguson and the late John Prine. Those sessions yielded classic bluegrass renditions of nearly his entire back-catalog excluding Sound & Fury. The songs range from his critically acclaimed Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, and even date back to his first record Hightop Mountain and previous band Sunday Valley.
Cuttin’ Grass Volume 1 is out now.
Listen to Cuttin Grass Vol. 1 via spotify
Listen to the Ryman Auditorium live-stream