Sturgill Simpson has shared Cuttin’ Grass Vol 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions, his second bluegrass record this year after dropping Cuttin’ Grass Vol 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) in October.
Like the first volume, Cuttin’ Grass Vol 2 brings together songs from elsewhere in Simpson’s discography, but with a bluegrass twist. It mainly draws on material from 2016’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and 2013’s High Top Mountain.
“On Volume 2, we recorded everything I was too afraid to do on Volume 1,” Simpson said in a press release. “It’s hard to deny that this is a much more personal record. I was thinking about my kids, my grandfather, my wife.”
In addition, the record also includes previously unreleased tracks “Tennessee” and “Hobo Cartoon,” the latter of which was co-written with the late country icon Merle Haggard. Simpson said via NPR: “Merle loved bluegrass, so it felt like a proper homage, really exposed and stripped down to the root of something.”
The album takes its title from Cowboy Jack Clement’s Cowboy Arms Hotel and Recording Spa, where it was recorded. This is similar to Cuttin’ Grass Vol 1, named for the Butcher Shoppe studio—owned by the late John Prine—where it was recorded. Both albums were produced by Simpson’s mentor David Ferguson.
The two albums are a follow-up to Simpson’s 2019 country rock project Sound and Fury. Just last month, Simpson promoted Cuttin’ Grass Vol 1 with a bluegrass performance of “Breakers Roar” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Stream Cuttin’ Grass Vol 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions below: