Oct 162020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Sturgill Simpson has released Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) as the follow up to last year’s rock record Sound And Fury.  This album turns to bluegrass and re-works 20 of Sturgill’s original tunes into bluegrass tracks.  What really makes this album is that these are totally re-arranged to be bluegrass and not just his old songs played in this style.  It really helps that Sturgill has put together an amazing bluegrass band of some of the best players today with Stuart Duncan, Mike Bub, Sierra Hull, Scott Vestal, Tim O’Brien, Mark Howard and Miles Miller on the record.

There really isn’t a bad track on this album, and it’s the first record I have reviewed here where I recommend the whole album.  Some standouts include a few Sunday Valley tracks with “All The Pretty Colors”, “I Wonder” and “Sometimes Wine”.  I hope we get a few more of these on the potential Vol. 2.  Other high marks include a total re-working of “The Storm” from the mid-tempo track on High Top Mountain to a thunderous and fast bluegrass track that will have concert halls dancing for sure.  “Turtles” is also slightly sped up for the bluegrass style and it has a totally different feel to it vs the cosmic styling of the Metamodern track.  “Life Of Sin” goes from being a guitar forward twangy country jam to a fiddle forward country flavored bluegrass track.  Indeed, it is the new arrangements for these familiar tracks with some of the best bluegrass players you can put together that makes this much more than a greatest hits album.

Sturgill has done it again with this one and has made what could be another genre defining masterpiece.  This time he has done for bluegrass what Metamodern Sounds In Country Music did for traditional country back in 2014.  Bluegrass is in a resurgence with artists like Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle and others leading the way.  Now Sturgill joins the pack with this collection.  Time will tell if we get a Volume 2 with the rest of his songs and hopefully a bit more Sunday Valley and a bit of Sound and Fury too.  I don’t often review records like this, but this is more than a Greatest Hits album.  These are familiar songs done in a new way with some of the best pickers you can find.  I highly recommend giving this record a spin and I hope we get a bluegrass tour with Sturgill and this band.  Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 is out everywhere digitally as of October 16th, 2020 with physical releases later in December.  

Favorite Tracks : The Whole Thing

Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) (2020)

  1. All Around You
  2. All The Pretty Colors
  3. Breakers Roar
  4. I Don’t Mind
  5. I Wonder
  6. Just Let Go
  7. Life Ain’t Fair And The World Is Mean
  8. A Little Light
  9. Life Of Sin
  10. Long White Line
  11. Living The Dream
  12. Old King Coal
  13. Railroad Of Sin
  14. Sitting Here Without You
  15. Sometimes Wine
  16. The Storm
  17. Time After All
  18. Turtles All The Way Down
  19. Voices
  20. Water Down The Well

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