Friday, December 4, 2020

Sturgill Simpson : "Cutting Grass"

You might think this is a greatest. It's not really , it is kind of a compilations. He has recorded bluegrass versions of songs from his catalog . I think most of these are such a different spin that this is close enough to new songs in book. Since it is my fucking blog I am going to say it is since I make the rules here .He is releasing 20 songs, so there is a margin for error. The opening song is particularly strong. "Breakers Roar" works really well too. The picking an grinning is top notch. The fiddling , banjo and guitar is all top notch playing.  Songs like " I Don't Mind" are well done , but do not grab me on the first listen. I do like the lyrics to it as they are kind of bleak. 

"Just Let Go" is like self help blue grass , more than the kind of drinking behind the barn stuff you might expect. The song works even if dynamically a lot of these songs are being to play to the tropes and sound the same. " Life Ain't Fair, and the World is Mean" is more up beat. Lyrically it talks about those tropes I just brought up, If you got into Simpson by way of "Sound & Fury" this might not be the album for you. It has all the traditional twang  that comes with this style of music. There is a southern gospel feel to "A Little Light"  "Life of Sin" is more interesting lyrically. It is still almost too happy for me musically despite the unnerved topic. "Long White Line" plays it safer and it blends in with the general tone of the album.  As a song " Living the Dream' works a little better . ""Old King Coal" is one of the album's best song with a weary working man's feel. 

When he builds up speed it is due to banjo and fiddle. "Railroad of Sin" is an example of this, but the vocals make the song work. "Sometimes Wine" is an obligatory drinking song. The faster bluegrass is not my favorite flavor but on "the Storm" he makes it work again. I do prefer what he does on "Time After All" which is more country. I prefer the original version of  "Turtles All the Way Down", it is such a good song it works any way you spin it. "Voices' proves that less is more , and he needs he room to breathe. " Water In a Well" almost has too much room, as it's a sleepy ballad like take on country.  I will give this a 9 as he is good as what he does , I think what happens with " Turtles All the Way Down" says it in regards to my relationship with his music. But as far as country music goes today he is one of the best. 

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