Sign up for newsletter
 

Simpson takes aim at ACMs, mainstream country

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 – Sturgill Simpson knocked the mainstream country labels in a Facebook post on Tuesday, lamenting that they tried to show their connection to the late Merle Haggard despite what Simpson said was Nashville's disregard for The Hag.

The Academy of Country Music is honoring Miranda Lambert with the first Merle Haggard Spirit Award. In a follow-up Facebook post on Tuesday, Simpson said he made it clear that he was not taking dead aim at Lambert, who once handed an award to Haggard.

Simpson, who has attracted much critical praise, but not from the mainstream country community, also said he was packing his bags and leaving Nashville. Simpson released "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" last year to much positive press, although the album lacked the hard core country sounds of his previous releases. He talked on being blackballed by Nashville, but said he did not care.

"Many years back, much like Willie and Waylon had years before, Merle Haggard said, "Fuck this town. I'm moving." and he left Nashville," Simpson wrote. "According to my sources, it was right after a record executive told him that 'Kern River' was a bad song. In the last chapter of his career and his life, Nashville wouldn't call, play, or touch him. He felt forgotten and tossed aside. I always got a sense that he wanted one last hit..one last proper victory lap of his own, and we all know deserved it. Yet it never came. And now he's gone."

"Im (sic) writing this because I want to go on record and say I find it utterly disgusting the way everybody on Music Row is coming up with any reason they can to hitch their wagon to his name while knowing full and damn well what he thought about them. If the ACM wants to actually celebrate the legacy and music of Merle Haggard, they should drop all the formulaic cannon fodder bullshit they've been pumping down rural America's throat for the last 30 years along with all the high school pageantry, meat parade award show bullshit and start dedicating their programs to more actual Country Music."

Simpson said he got together with Haggard last fall at his house in Redding, Cal. for a joint cover story in Garden & Guns magazine.

"But then at the last minute, the magazine's editor put Chris Stapleton on the cover without telling anyone until they had already gone to print. Don't get me wrong, Chris had a great year and deserves a million magazine covers...but thats (sic) not the point."

"Its (sic) about keeping your word and ethics," Simpson wrote. "Chris also knows this as he called me personally to express his disgust at the situation. Dude's a class act."

"The editor later claimed in a completely bullshit email apology to both Merle's publicist and ours (Chris and I share the same publicist) that they didn't get any good shots that day," Simpson claimed.

"David McClister."

2 hour shoot."

no good photos."

OK buddy,..whatever you say."

Anyway, Merle passed away right after it came out."

Garden & Guns magazine could not be reached for comment.

After the news came out about Lambert's award, Simpson made it clear he was not going after Lambert. "Before people start chasing clickbait by putting words in my mouth, I feel the need to clarify that I was not aware of this at the time of my original post, and my words were in no way directed at her. I know that Merle liked and respected her so it's good to see there is at least some blue sky in all of this."

"I don't know Miranda nor have I ever met her, but something tells me that in her heart, she knows I'm dead on. I am also aware that the ACM is a West Coast organization originally created to recognize West Coast artists like Merle and they have handed Merle many trophies over the years,..even in the last 15 or so mind you. It's also worth noting that the last one was handed to him by none other than Miranda Lambert herself."

"But all of this is irrelevant as none of it has anything to do with the original point I was trying to make. My point was that all of these organizations don't walk it like they talk it. I called The ACM out directly because they are simply the latest in a long line of organizations that have done the same since Merle's death...and even before. Showing homage and handing lifetime achievement awards to the greats of yesterday while claiming to uphold and hold dear the original values and integrity of Country music's legacy. Yet these are just hollow words...merely empty semantics. One needs only to look glancingly at the majority of the music that they, along with the CMA's, predominantly choose to recognize and promote at their award shows.":

"I fully realize that as I type this, meetings and conversations are taking place on music (sic) Row to ensure I am blackballed from the industry and that's perfectly fine with me. Im (sic) not sure how you can blackball somebody you don't acknowledge in the first place anyway. Yet, even though they mostly go out of their way to ignore artists like myself and Jason Isbell, I assure you they are more than aware of our existence. They are also well aware that we don't need them. Our last albums went to #1 without any help from the Mainstream Country Music establishment...and our next albums will too. With that said, I have no more need to make enemies with these people than I have a need to be their friends. If anything I'm trying to help them. Because more and more everyday, people are waking up to the situation and they are pissed. Perhaps Country Music, especially Nashville, should wake up too before it's too late."

"I should also go ahead and add here that whether or not I am nominated for a CMA award this year, I will not be attending the ceremony for no other reason than the fact I already have a sold out show scheduled in Des Moines, Iowa on the night of the awards ceremony and I have no plans to change that."

The award nominations will be announced on Wednesday.

"Mostly though, I just wish Merle was still alive," Simpson said. "I'd love for them to all hear his thoughts on the matter."

"P.S. Fuck this town. I'm moving."

More news for Sturgill Simpson

CD reviews for Sturgill Simpson

A Soldier's Guide to Earth CD review - A Soldier's Guide to Earth
If scratching your head about the sounds emanating from Sturgill Simpson's third release, then "It Ain't All Flowers" from his last release, the excellent "Metamodern Sounds in Country Music," ought to serve as a reference point. In a disc filled with traditional country sounds, "Flowers" was about as far away as one could get with the electronics sounding so completely disjointed from everything else on the release. Put it this way - " Islands" »»»
Metamodern Sounds in Country Music CD review - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
The first time you hear Sturgill sing you may feel like you've heard a ghost - the ghost of Waylon Jennings, that is. Although his voice isn't as low as Jennings' was, it's nevertheless still in the same general vocal range ballpark. Better still, the Kentucky native sings wonderfully honest country songs. "Life of Sin," for instance, is a song about, well, sinning, which is really some of what great country is all about. Yes, most of this album will do a »»»
High Top Mountain CD review - High Top Mountain
There's not a whole lot of traditional troubadours around these days. Old school may still be appreciated, but when it comes to country crossovers and reaching the masses, it's roots rock, alt.-country and Americana that hold the upper hand. Which makes it surprising in a way that newcomer Sturgill Simpson should sound like such a, well, old-timer. Hell, even his name resembles the kind of handle aptly suited to a country crooner. It's little wonder then that his debut disc, »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Rising Appalachia buck the mainsteam, and that's fine with them – Rising Appalachia would not be accused of being in the musical mainstream. Not too many bands who combine folk and Appalachian sounds with new world music could possibly be. And that suits the sister-led duo of Chloe Smith and Leah Song just fine. In fact, at one point, Chloe made it clear she did not embrace radio play as a sign of success... »»»
Concert Review: Bingham plays with something to prove – Ryan Bingham mainly focused on songs from his sixth album "American Love Song," for this lively show. Backed by a supportive band that also included two female backup singers and a fiddler, Bingham's eclectic setlist touched upon country, singer/songwriter folk, rock and blues. Bingham reached for lively country sounds early on, with... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

The Mavericks "Play the Hits" When recording its album "Play the Hits," The Mavericks approached this covers album in much the same way the band creates any of its other studio albums. "Above all, we're always trying to reach a certain musical bar that we... »»»
Larue moves "Onward" The release of "Onward," his eighth studio album, finds veteran Texas Music/Red Dirt artist Stoney Larue at a crossroads. After almost two decades on the road, playing 200 shows a year across America and abroad, he has had success... »»»
Willis, Robison spin "Beautiful Lie" Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison,... »»»
Chip Kinman celebrates brother, career on "Sounds Like Music" For a brief moment last summer, the news of Tony Kinman's death was, if not greatly exaggerated, then at least fortuitously premature. The roots rock icon, known for his work in The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird and Cowboy Nation with his younger brother Chip, had been diagnosed with cancer in March 2018,... »»»
Shiflett learns "Hard Lessons" Until recently, Chris Shiflett took a somewhat obsessive/compulsive approach to his music career. For the past two decades, Shiflett has been the primary guitar foil for Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters; early in his tenure, Shiflett was so self-deprecatingly... »»»
White embraces "The Hurting Kind" John Paul White, to paraphrase a Steve Earle song, may just be one of the last of the hardcore troubadours. By 'troubadour,' we mean one of those guys that lives to write great songs - more specifically, great country songs - and then get these songs into the ears of folks that... »»»
Bingham gets personal with "American Love Song"...again A lot of the early reviews for "American Love Song," Ryan Bingham's latest set of raucous and reflective Americana brilliance, have characterized it as the singer/ songwriter's most personal album to date.... »»»
9 CD review - 9
Hollywood may be pushing a broadminded agenda where there are more genders than one can even count, but in Jason Aldean's world, there are only two: tough guys, and the women that love them. There's no confusion  »»»
Ocean CD review - Ocean
Lady Antebellum may lean a little too closely to pop music for many tastes, but it's hard to argue with the trio's song choices. And its latest collection is filled with many memorable songs. The single "What If I Never Get Over You," »»»
Thinkin' Problem CD review - Thinkin' Problem
Most hard core country fans certainly have heard David Ball's 1994 "Thinkin' Problem," a true honky tonk classic. Ominvore is releasing the album in remastered expanded format with eight bonus tracks, marking its 25th anniversary. »»»
Onward CD review - Onward
Veteran Texas artist Stoney Larue has been through a lot in 20 years of touring and recording and puts that experience to good use on his first release since 2015's "Just Us." "Onward" enlists veteran Nashville producer and songwriter Gary Nicholson  »»»
Travelin' Thru The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 1967-1969 featuring Johnny Cash CD review - Travelin' Thru The Bootleg Series Vol. 15 1967-1969 featuring Johnny Cash
All these many years later, Bob Dylan 'bootleg' songs are still better than many intentional studio releases from other artists. Although some might have been shocked at the time to learn of Dylan's sojourn south to Nashville »»»
Play the Hits CD review - Play the Hits
When The Mavericks call an album "Play The Hits," It really should be qualified as "Play The Selective Hits" because this band has never been especially interested in performing only what's commercially viable.  »»»
Old Dominion CD review - Old Dominion
Old Dominion has gained a following on the heels of two albums of lively material. Their self-titled third release stays the course and delivers a dozen radio-friendly songs. The hyper positive lead single "Make it Sweet"  »»»
Redemption 10: Live at Blue Rock CD review - Redemption 10: Live at Blue Rock
Houston-based singer-songwriter and former lawyer Libby Koch celebrates the 10th anniversary of her first album, "Redemption," by releasing a full band, live audience setting for what was originally a solo acoustic album.  »»»
Live From the Ryman CD review - Live From the Ryman
The very best way - the only way, really - to see Old Crow Medicine Show is live. Like its namesake, the medicine shows of old that were part preaching, part snake oil sales pitches, part old time music and pure entertainment, »»»
Fire & Brimstone CD review - Fire & Brimstone
It would be easy (and lazy journalism) to write about how much Brantley Gilbert's music is un-country. You need only isolate the drum parts for most of these latest songs to confirm this is primarily a rock recording  »»»
Sunshine is Free CD review - Sunshine is Free
Monica Rizzio's second album, "Sunshine Is Free," emblematic of its title, ushers in bright country music, with roots touches but generally gliding in melodic, uplifting country territory. Put this in your player when you need a smile or two. »»»