One week after having to cancel several of his shows, including a multi-evening stint at New York’s Webster Hall, Sturgill Simpson has canceled the remainder of his tour dates for 2021. The country singer-guitarist posted on Instagram that he’d been dealing with severe vocal cord issues that leave his future as a performer uncertain.
“Turns out I did in fact unfortunately hemorrhage / rupture my vocal cords after all,” he wrote, posting a scan of his larynx that showed the injury. “I am currently getting the best treatment available and should fully recover but it’s gonna be a long hot minute before I can return to stage.”
Simpson went on to acknowledge his fans and the tour stops he’d already missed, including Outlaw Music Festival shows in the Atlanta and Baltimore areas, as well as headlining dates to come in New York and at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
“I’m sorry to everyone that had tickets to the remaining shows and to thank everyone that has supported me over the years,” he wrote. “It’s been an incredibly fun, rewarding and educational journey. I played all the venues I dreamed about playing as a kid, met all my heroes, even became friends with most of them, and got to work and play with some of the finest musicians on the planet over the years.”
In August, Simpson released The Ballad of Dood & Juanita, which he speculated would be his final release as a solo performer. “I’d like to form a proper band with some people who I really love and respect musically, and be a part of something truly democratic in terms of creativity,” he told Rolling Stone just before the album’s release. At last week’s Americana Honors and Awards, Simpson’s bluegrass effort Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 1: The Butcher Shoppe Sessions was named Album of the Year.
Outside of music, Simpson has also stepped into acting, appearing in the films Queen & Slim and The Hunter. He’s playing a role in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon. As for what lies ahead once his recovery is complete, Simpson is characteristically wry.
“On the bright side, now I can finally really focus on other pursuits and areas of passionate interest,” he said, “like becoming the best hitman I can be.”