Sturgill Simpson’s storytelling powers continue to evolve and expand. His most recent collection of all-new songs was 2019’s electronically enhanced, hard-rockin’ Sound & Fury, whose songs loosely orbited a story; a companion anime film pulled those threads together. Last year he released Cuttin’ Grass Vols. 1 and 2, on which he revisited some of his earlier songs with a phenomenal band of Nashville bluegrass players.
Simpson’s also had a handful of film roles; currently he’s filming the Martin Scorsese-directed adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon. Now, he’s announced a country-leaning concept record.
“I just wanted to write a story — not a collection of songs that tell a story, but an actual story, front to back,” Simpson writes in a release. The Ballad of Dood and Juanita tells the story of a Civil War-era couple, which Simpson goes on to say is “a simple tale of either redemption or revenge” that is a “rollercoaster ride through all the styles of traditional country and bluegrass and mountain music that I love, including gospel and a cappella.”
Many of the players from the Cuttin’ Grass sessions return, and Willie Nelson joins in on the song “Juanita.” The 10-song set is due for a digital release on Aug. 20, with CDs available at indie record stores. The record will be available on vinyl Dec. 3.
In addition, Simpson will make his return to the Ryman on Nov. 18, 19 and 20. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 23, at 10 a.m., and run $49.50-$99.50. You can also preorder The Ballad of Dood and Juanita via Bandcamp.