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Sturgill Simpson – Cutting Grass Vol. 1 (The Butcher Shoppe Sessions)

November 20, 2020

Earlier this year Sturgill Simpson gave us some COVID relief with a free online concert. The show was Sturgill songs arranged bluegrass style. During the show he tantalized us that there would be a couple of bluegrass albums coming out later in the year. Well one of them is finally here.

This is no Pinkin’ On Sturgill album. These bluegrass arrangements of old songs come off like new songs. According to some of Sturgill’s interviews, these bluegrass arrangements are the way the songs were always meant to be. I have added a playlist of the original songs. Most of the songs come from Sturgill’s first two studio albums, a couple from his third and a few are making their debut.

An example of the radical reinvention can be heard on the first cut. “All Around You” from A Sailor’s Guide To Earth originally sounded like some Celtic soul Van Morrison might do. The bluegrass song sounds like it was always meant to be bluegrass – like it has been around for a hundred years. Although Sturgill has a very distinctive voice, he phrases differently on each version. Both versions are perfect.

Sometimes bluegrass can be too focused on pyrotechnics, but this album puts the songs first. I know from interviews that Sturgill has an eclectic musical taste and I know from his first four albums that he can perform expertly in several styles. Now he shows us that he has “high and lonesome” mastered. I can’t wait for volume 2!

Pretty amazing interview with Sturgill by Rick Rubin here.

Here is playlist of the original songs:

From → Music Reviews

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