Sturgill Simpson's third album in less than a year, following the October and December 2020 releases of his bluegrass two-parter Cuttin' Grass, will be a throwback of a different sort titled The Ballad of Dood & Juanita.
"I just wanted to write a story -- not a collection of songs that tell a story, but an actual story, front to back," Simpson said in a press release. He also describes the project as a "rollercoaster ride through all the styles of traditional country and bluegrass and mountain music that I love, including gospel and a cappella."
Stereogum reports that The Ballad of Dood & Juanita "features the same band who played on those Cuttin' Grass albums and was recorded in less than a week."
The overused term "outlaw" applied to Waylon Jennings, "Juanita" collaborator Willie Nelson and others because they valued the creative freedom sometimes forfeited by mainstream artists, not because of hard living or surly attitudes toward proper society. If anyone now truly follows that path, it's Simpson. His one-year run of bluegrass jams and a new concept album was preceded in 2019 by the psychedelic, synth-driven and Grammy award-nominated anime soundtrack Sound & Fury.
The new album arrives digitally and on CD on Aug. 20, with a vinyl release following on Dec. 3.
Simpson's currently on location filming the Martin Scorsese film Killers of the Flower Moon. The singer-songwriter will hit the road in September and October for dates on Nelson's Outlaw Music Festival tour and a sold-out residency at Webster Hall in New York City.
The Ballad of Dood & Juanita track list:
2. "Ol' Dood" (part I)
3. "One in the Saddle, One on the Ground"
5. "Played Out"
7. "Juanita" (featuring Willie Nelson)
8. "Go in Peace"
10. "Ol' Dood" (part II)