Artist: Sturgill Simpson
Song: “Hobo Cartoon”
Album: Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 2
Release Date: December 11, 2020
In Their Words: “’Hobo Cartoon’ is one that I’ve been sitting on for about four years. Merle Haggard wrote the lyrics to that when he was in the hospital, on his deathbed. And he was writing a lot at that time. I think he was optimistic he was going to come out of there and everything’s going to be ok. We’d talk on the phone when he was sick, and one day I just get this text message with a note memo with those lyrics, and a text that just said, ‘From one railroad man to another,’ but it was just the lyrics. Then he passed away shortly after that, so we never got to… finish the song together, I guess. And I almost put it on another project.
“He loved bluegrass a lot, and when we got into cutting this thing [Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 2] and I had it, I just said, ‘Screw this, man. I’m going to cowboy up. I got to cut this.’ So I went and put a melody and some chords to it, and finished the song. Sent it to Ben [Haggard], his son, and Theresa [Haggard], his wife, and just said, ‘You know, I just want to get this out into the world and I need your all’s approval.’ Which they thankfully gave and loved it. And I just decided this is the only way I could possibly end the record. There is nowhere else this could go.” – Sturgill Simpson, via SiriusXM’s Elizabeth Cook’s Apron Strings