Sturgill Simpson isn’t your run-of-the-mill country artist belting out songs about trucks, heartbreak, and the American South. Instead, he’s a refreshing deviation, journeying into spiritual and even psychedelic landscapes. His 2014 track “Just Let Go,” from the album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, exemplifies this unique blend.
“Just Let Go” Lyrics Meaning
The song is rich in themes from Tibetan Buddhism—a rare subject matter in country music that’s typically focused on everyday life and relationships.
Some of the more psychonautic listeners speculate that this song is reminiscent of an ayahuasca journey, but Sturgill has not commented on this directly.
This Brooklyn Vegan said of the song in 2014, which we tend to agree with: “Maybe he was high on ayahuasca in the backwoods of New Mexico while writing this or maybe he’s just writing what comes from his heart.”
Let’s delve into the lyrics to uncover how Simpson does this, starting with the first verse:
Woke up today and decided to kill my egoFirst verse to “Just Let Go” by Sturgill Simpson.
It ain’t ever done me no good no how
Gonna break through and blast off to the Bardo
In them flowers of light far away from the here and now
In the opening verse, “Woke up today and decided to kill my ego,” Simpson immediately disarms listeners by confronting a substantial obstacle in spiritual growth: the ego.
By incorporating ideas like the “Bardo,” a state in Tibetan Buddhism that exists between death and rebirth, Sturgill brings in a unique kind of depth, proving that country music can be a vessel for complex spiritual dialogue.
The second verse brings in more Buddhist themes:
Taking a 49 divine day vacationSecond verse to “Just Let Go” by Sturgill Simpson.
From reality and all else in between
Gonna transmigrate to my destination
Far beyond time in an eternal dream
When he sings about “Taking a 49 divine day vacation,” he refers to the Bardo Thodol, or Tibetan Book of the Dead, which posits that the soul wanders in the Bardo for 49 days before reincarnation.
It’s about surrendering to the unknown and making peace with uncertainty. This is a common thing that people discuss in terms of meditation — the ability to temporarily let go of the world and go somewhere else, in the spiritual sense.
Sturgill bases the entire song around this idea, which is known as “transmigration”.
The next verse has him facing the actual ego death:
But am I dreaming, or am I dying?Third verse to “Just Let Go” by Sturgill Simpson.
Either way I don’t mind at all
Oh it feels so good you just can’t help but crying
Oh you have to let go so the soul may fall
Here, Sturgill raises questions about the boundaries between different states of consciousness. He initially struggles with this, but ultimately finds acceptance and even appreciation for the beauty of it all.
The notion of “letting go” here serves dual purposes: it’s both a form of emotional release and a metaphysical concept concerning detachment and enlightenment.
Finally, Sturgill admires this state of being:
Oh my God it’s so beautifulFourth verse to “Just Let Go” by Sturgill Simpson.
Everything is a part of me
It’s so hard looking through all the lies made of wool
But if you close your eyes it becomes so easy to see
“Oh my God it’s so beautiful, Everything is a part of me” brings home the concept of interconnectedness, a cornerstone of many Eastern philosophies. He feels at one with the world and comepletly at peace.
Simpson implies that enlightenment—or at least a greater level of self-awareness—comes when you can look past societal constructs, symbolized by “lies made of wool.” When you accomplish this, you can see the world for all the love that exists within it.
Instead of singing about love lost or found, Simpson is sharing wisdom about spiritual growth and enlightenment. In doing so, he enriches the genre, elevating it from storytelling to something closer to a spiritual guidebook.
It resonates deeply because it provides not just a melody but also a message—a set of life instructions to those willing to take a moment and listen closely.
For those searching for something more than cliche country tales, Sturgill Simpson’s “Just Let Go” is an essential listen.
Sturgill Simpson – “Just Let Go” (2014)
Sturgill Simpson – “Just Let Go” (Cuttin’ Grass Version, 2020)
In 2020, Sturgill released a pair of bluegrass albums featuring covers of his own songs, from various points in his career. One standout track was the bluegrass version of “Just Let Go”, included above.