USA, 2020, progressive bluegrass / bluegrass
Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions): If the Butcher Shoppe Sessions is the main course, this is the dessert, but only because it’s quite a bit shorter. There is no difference in quality between this record and its sister album, recorded only two months previous. The same masters of the fiddle, banjo, percussion, and guitar have been given center stage once again to astonish with their skill. I’ll never get tired of hearing “Oh Sarah”, one of Simpson’s oldest songs, one that was with him in his old country band, one he recorded with more country soul for his Sailor’s Guide, and then gave the bluegrass treatment here. Clearly, this song is important to Sturgill. I mean, it is about his wife, who’s been there from the beginning, who encouraged him to chase his songwriting/performing dream. And as if that wasn’t enough glee for a fanboy like me, I learn that the final track, “Hobo Cartoon”, was co-written by Sturgill Simpson and Merle Haggard, the latter finishing up the tune while dying in a hospital bed.