Sturgill Simpson was at the CMA Awards…kind of. As fans watched the show, he spent the evening outside Bridgestone Arena mocking the CMAs and making political statements. And the Grammy Award-winning artist certainly didn’t mince his words.
— Adam Gold (@GoldAdam) November 9, 2017
On the CMAs
Sturgill Simpson is the 2017 Grammy recipient for Best Country Album. Though famous as a musician (his last album went to No. 1), mainstream country music does not widely promote him.
They seem to ignore him.
That doesn’t stop him when it comes to speaking his mind. And that’s just what he was doing during the CMA Awards on November 8.
Standing outside Bridgestone Arena (where the Awards were taking place), Simpson played guitar, busked for donations for the ACLU, and answered questions from passersby. Next to him were his open guitar case, his Grammy, and two signs.
One read, “I don’t take requests, but I take questions about anything you want to talk about because fascism sucks.”
The other, “Struggling’ country singer … anything helps. (All donations go to the ACLU) God Bless America.”
He streamed the event on Facebook Live.
As far as the CMAs are concerned, he said he wasn’t snubbed because he didn’t submit to any categories. But then he remarked on being an outcast in the mainstream, telling someone, “You’ve got a better chance of getting in there than I do, I’ll tell you that.”
But as Rolling Stone reported, his comments went well beyond the Awards.
Simpson’s sign wasn’t the last of his fascism comments.
During the evening, he referred to Donald Trump as a “fascist f**king pig.” He also called out Trump supporters, saying, “Anybody who’s still supporting that guy can’t be anything in my mind but an ignorant f**king bigot.” He was clear that anyone who was offended could stop listening to his music (or probably weren’t listening, to begin with).
He also promoted gay rights, the ACLU, and Black Lives Matter. Gun control was another candid topic.
Of course, he wasn’t the only one to pick on Trump that night. Paisley and Underwood also poked fun at him, though clearly in a more lighthearted tone.
Simpson is clear that the country music world can take him or leave him. But he isn’t changing, least of all to fit into the country culture.