Sturgill Simpson Pays ‘Proper Homage’ to Merle Haggard with Co-Written Track on ‘Cuttin Grass Vol. 2’

by Kayla Zadel
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New Sturgill Simpson music arrived via lawnmower again as the singer-songwriter released his second installment of Cuttin’ Grass. This surprise album includes a song that Simpson pulled from his music catalog.

This song “Hobo Cartoon” isn’t just any old song of Simpson’s. It’s one that he wrote with the late Merle Haggard.

“Merle loved bluegrass, so it felt like a proper homage, really exposed and stripped down to the root of something,” Simpson says.

Simpson and Haggard became fast friends before the legendary singer-songwriter passed in 2016.

“We got to know each other in the last two years of his life,” Simpson tells RollingStone. “He would call a lot, we’d talk on the phone. When he got sick, he was still writing songs, even in his hospital bed. This just popped up one day in the inbox — he sent me these lyrics in a text and he said, ‘From one railroad man to another.’”

Haggard was obsessed with trains and Sturgill Simpson even worked on a railroad in Utah.

“Maybe I’ll recut it with a hard country band one day, but it just seemed like a beautiful way to end this chapter,” Simpson says.

Sturgill Simpson Continues to Buck the Norm with New Album

“Hobo Cartoon” is just one of the 12 songs on Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions. The bluegrass rebel artist is saying that Vol. 2 has everything on it that he was “too afraid” to do on the initial album. 

Vol. 2 is actually a combination of new music and tracks from his LP A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and his debut LP High Top Mountain. As a matter of fact, the album includes some fan favorites like “You Can Have the Crown.” This track is from Simpson’s previous band Sunday Valley.

However, before the Cuttin’ Grass series, Sturgill Simpson turned to more of a rock and roll theme for his music. Sound & Fury took on a hard rock, psychedelic, blues, and funk style. It was even nominated for Best Rock Album at the 63rd Grammy Awards.

Outsider.com