Sturgill Simpson on Owning Record Label: ‘I Was Always Supposed to Be an Independent Artist’

by Quentin Blount
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Sturgill Simpson is entering into a new phase of his music career. The singer-songwriter recently dropped his new bluegrass album, Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 – The Butcher Shoppe Sessions, and he did so as an independent artist.

“I’m starting back the way I started out, on my own record label,” Simpson said in an email to his fans. “I’m realizing more and more every day what I already knew, which is that I was always supposed to be an independent artist.

Simpson reveals that he was “burnt out” with making music leading up to the making of “Cuttin’ Grass.” He had a falling out with Elektra Records earlier in the year.

However, now back to working independently, Simpson has fallen back in love with music again.

In an Instagram post late last night, Simpson told his fans that he is releasing the new album and that he feels it’s his best work yet.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGYvIsGFs7g/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Album’s roots date back to Sturgill Simpson childhood

The album’s roots in bluegrass date back to Simpson’s childhood, when his grandfather introduced him to the genre – or at least tried to.

“My paternal grandfather was a bluegrass freak,” he said. “Every time he’d come to visit, he’d try to shove it down my throat. My palette wasn’t ready to absorb it at the time.”

Simpson recalled a time in his room as a youngster when his grandpa could tell he wasn’t into bluegrass quite yet.

“He could sense my rejection of what I was hearing,” Simpson said. “He looked at me directly and said ‘one day it’s gonna get in ya, and it’ll never get out.’ I wish more than anything he was still here and could hear this collection of songs.”

It wasn’t until many years later that Simpson had an awe-inspiring moment. Living out west, having just returned home from the military, Simpson was driving one day and the public radio station played an old Monroe Brothers song.

“It absolutely floored me – a wave of emotion slammed me in the chest and I had to pull over on the side of the road,” he said. “It sounded like home. Bluegrass music is healing. I truly believe this to be.”

Since then, making a bluegrass album has always been in Simpson’s heart and mind.

“Cuttin’ Grass” contains 20 tracks, all songs previously released by Simpson or Sunday Valley, the band he was in prior to his solo career. In another Instagram post, Simspon highlighted those he collaborated with on his new album.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGTMFgpF2Tq/?utm_source=ig_embed
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