Angel Olsen revisited the title track to her 2022 album, Big Time, with a very special guest in a new duet featuring Sturgill Simpson. The new single comes a year after Simpson released his allegedly final album as a solo artist, The Ballad of Dood & Juanita.
Olsen’s name definitely remains on the marquee in this updated version of “Big Time”, as she welcomes listeners in with the first verse. Simpson’s gruff, experienced voice then comes in for the second verse, serving as a foil to Olsen’s and turning the song from an internal monologue into a conversation. In the end, the two unique voices come together for the chorus as they mourn all that they’ve lost and all they’ve left behind.
“It’s crazy to write a song and then watch someone else you really admire sing your words; kinda turns the whole thing on its head,” Olsen, who first connected with Simpson following her 2016 album My Woman, said. “I loved the song already, but hearing Sturgill’s take on ‘Big Time’ made me smile ear to ear, he made it come alive on a different level.”
Simpson long held that he would only release five albums, and with The Ballad of Dood & Juanita, he appeared to have closed a chapter of his illustrious career. He said to Rolling Stone at the time,
This is the last Sturgill record. … I always said there would be five, and I wondered if I’d go back on that. But it really has cemented every step of the way how much I don’t want to carry all that weight. Going forward, 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. Not having to stand up there behind my name would allow me to be even more vulnerable, in a way.
Since then, Simpson has contributed to tribute records for John Prine and John Anderson. He will also appear in director Martin Scorcese‘s film adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon, expected to hit theaters next year.
Angel Olsen, Sturgill Simpson – “Big Time”