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Sturgill Simpson

Semi Song/Courtesy of the artist

Taylor Swift isn't the only artist recording at breakneck speed these days. Today Sturgill Simpson has announced Cuttin' Grass, Vol. 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions, his second surprise album in as many months. Like the previous installment, these songs reinterpret his catalog through bluegrass and feature an all-star lineup of acoustic musicians he's dubbed the Hillbilly Avengers.

"On Volume 2, we recorded everything I was too afraid to do on Volume 1," Simpson says in a statement.

Recorded at the Cowboy Jack Clement's Cowboy Arms Hotel and Recording Spa in Nashville, Tenn., The Cowboy Arms Sessions largely draws on 2016's A Sailor's Guide to Earth, but it also features two previously unreleased tracks, "Tennessee" and "Hobo Cartoon," the latter of which Simpson co-wrote with the late Merle Haggard. Haggard sent Simpson the track before his death, which Simpson ultimately finished years later.

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

Cuttin' Grass, Vol. 2 arrives at a ceremonious moment for bluegrass. On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Grand Ole Opry honored the 75th anniversary of the form, marking the night that Earl Scruggs made his Opry debut with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys with a special performance featuring the Del McCoury Band and the Travelin' McCourys. Simpson's latest foray – reexamining his own genre-irreverent work with an expert practitioner's eye – further cements his singularity.

Cuttin' Grass,Vol. 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions tracklist:

  1. Call To Arms
  2. Brace for Impact
  3. Oh Sarah
  4. Sea Stories
  5. Hero
  6. Welcome To Earth (Pollywog)
  7. Jesus Boogie
  8. Keep It Between The Lines
  9. You Can Have The Crown
  10. Tennessee
  11. Some Days
  12. Hobo Cartoon

Cuttin' Grass, Vol. 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions is out now via High Top Mountain Records.

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fullerThroughout the week, we play short segments about what birds are out in Sonoma County and what they sound like, from Harry Fuller. Harry spent his working career as a TV and Internet newsman in the Bay Area.  He’s been leading bird trips and writing about birds for thirty years.  He has written three natural history books: Freeway Birding, I-5 San Francisco to Seattle; San Francisco’s Natural History, Sand Dunes to Streetcars; Great Gray Owl in California, Oregon & Washington. He blogs regularly about birds: atowhee.blog.  And he frequently leads birding trips on the Pacific Coast. Check him out at http://www.towhee.net/.

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