The highly-anticipated bluegrass project from Sturgill Simpson is finally here, and as expected, it did not disappoint. Earlier this year, while Sturgill was on the mend from Coronavirus, he resurrected his Instagram page, started his “Dick Daddy Survival School” as a joke to pass the time, and wound up selling merch to raise money for charity.
The deal was really simple: if he sold enough DDSS merch, he’s do a livestream show, and if he sold even more merch, he’d put out an album. The fans crushed it.
So as promised, Sturgill assembled one of the finest bluegrass teams the world has ever seen and went into the studio with producer Dave Ferguson. Joined by Sierra Hull, Mike Bub, Stuart Duncan, Scott Vestal, Tim O’Brien, Mark Howard and his drummer Miles Miller, Sturgill cut 20 songs from his back catalog, all bluegrass style.
“There are songs from all my albums except for the last one, and there’s two or three that I wrote 15 years ago back when I was playing dive bars in Kentucky. Those are the songs that were really cool to hear finally realized the way I had always wanted them to be recorded. “I Don’t Mind” is a song I wrote in 2006 or 2007, and it’s probably my wife’s favorite song that I’ve ever written.
So she basically said, “Don’t come home if that thing’s not on the album” I thought it turned out really pretty, really beautiful, everybody did a great job on it.”
“I Don’t Mind”
“If I had to say what’s the most definitively bluegrass song on the record, I would probably say “All the Pretty Colors.” The performance, the feel, the lyrical content, that could be like a bluegrass standard some day. I really loved what Sierra Hull, who sings and plays mandolin, did on “Breaker’s Roar”—she put these lilting harmonies on it that made it just as pretty as the strings on the Sailor’s Guide record. I thought that was really cool.”
“All The Pretty Colors”
“This album also begins a new phase for my career. I’m starting back the way I started out, on my own record label. I’m realizing more and more every day what I already knew, which is that I was always supposed to be an independent artist. I’m just trying to look forward and create without any industry timelines or narratives and all the creative restrictions that inevitably come with them. The real benefit is that I’ve completely fallen back in love with music again.”
“Long White Line”
“The world’s hurting right now in so many ways…there are a lot of people in way worse shape than most of us could ever imagine. I cannot fix or change any of this. But I can change myself. And I can put some music out, and hopefully, if nothing else, it might make some people forget about their pain and troubles for fifty-five minutes.”