Sturgill Simpson is currently in the running and being voted on by members of the Country Music Association for three of the 50th Anniversary presentation’s biggest prizes. Also surprising since she’s not on a major label, Margo Price has made the top 20 females being considered for Female Vocalist of the Year.
If you thought Sturgill Simpson’s and Stephen Colbert’s Waffle House duet “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Knuckleheads” was funny when they debuted it on national television in April, then the second installment will split your sides.
“I remember we were doing our first tour, somewhere probably like a Red Roof Inn or Howard Johnson’s,” Sturgill explains. “I almost killed myself getting out of the shower to write it down. It was right before we were going to check out and leave. And I had to literally like jump out of the shower and I slipped.”
Willie Nelson, along with Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews are the board members for the Farm Aid organization first launched in 1985, and all four will be performing at this year’s event being held in Bristow, Virginia at Jiffy Lube Live on September 17th. Along with the four headliners, this year’s Farm Aid features an impressive list of country music talent.
Carlene Carter, Dave Matthews, Farm Aid, Jamey Johnson, John Mellencamp, Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Neil Young, Sturgill Simpson, Tim Reynolds, Willie Nelson
With no disrespect meant to the albums highlighted here, which represent the exception and not the rule, 2016 has begun where the second half of 2015 left off, where it feels like country and roots music across the board is out of ideas, and the search for music that truly enlivens the spirit is becoming harder. Nonetheless, there are still some excellent albums out there worth highlighting.
From opening for Dwight and Willie, to signing to Thirty Tigers, to now getting the opportunity to play big stages at Stagecoach in April, and Bonnaroo in June, the story of Luke Bell is shaping up to be very similar to that of Sturgill Simpson’s when his career was in its infant stages. But there’s still a lot of ground to cover.
Americana may not have a definitive, universally-recognized definition. But it now has it’s own classification on Billboard’s weekly album’s chart, which is a new layer of legitimacy for the genre if nothing else. Overall, it appears that the Billboard staff got it just about right.
If you’ve been waiting for the Sturgill Simpson tour to head your way behind his recent album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, chances are you’ll be getting your wish soon. Tickets for most remaining shows in May and June are sold out. Many of the shows in Canada and the northern United States will go on sale on May 20th.
Believe it or not, you can draw a straight line between underground roots music, and Chris Stapleton becoming the most successful country music artist in the last two years in regards to awards and album sales. Let me explain how:
Sturgill Simpson sat down with Marc Maron of the WTF podcast recently, and the hour or so interview was released on Thursday (5-12). If you’re a diehard Sturgill Simpson fan, it would be strongly encouraged that you listen. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits from the conversation.
Sturgill Simpson embarked on the second night of a two-night sold-out stop at The Moody Theater in downtown Austin, on Friday (5-6). It was the second night on his current tour, and one of the first glimpses of what fans can expect from an expanded lineup, and a new sound that veers slightly away from the country style Sturgill’s career has been known for up to this point.
SportsCenter anchor John Buccigross is head over heels for Sturgill Simpson and his new record a Sailor’s Guide to Earth. Or hell, his entire catalog. And if you’ve been paying attention over the last week or so, Buccigross been dropping references to Sturgill and singing his praises left and right.
Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is officially the #1 record in country music, and is also the highest-charting debut of the week at #3 on the all genre Billboard 200 chart. The only thing keeping Sturgill from the top of the Billboard 200 were two surging titles from Price that sold like crazy in the hours after the superstar’s death.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth will still be the top debut album for the week, and according to Sturgill, it doesn’t symbolize a complete shift in his music career henceforth, just a “pause” in his country output. Speaking to KCRW where Sturgill performed the new album in its entirety (see below), he told the crowd how his son had inspired the album.
Sturgill Simpson is poised to have the #1 album in all of music next week with his new release A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, and Chris Stapleton’s Traveller could come in right behind him at #2. Nipping at their heels is the newest album from Santana released by Thirty Tigers called Santana IV, and Rihanna’s latest record Anti, supported by strong streaming numbers for the week.
The idea that country music is somehow a limited musical format is an illusion, and an excuse. Instrumentation is just the clothing; it’s what you say, and how you say it that counts. The only true restrictions a country music artist or any musician faces are those they put on themselves.
Sturgill Simpson made his second appearance on the long-winded Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Monday (4-4) ahead of the release of his new album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth out April 15th, and talked many subjects with the comedian, including the new album. “This is definitely a record that anybody that knows about me, I would like them to hear as a record, because that’s how I recorded it to be heard.”
For the last few years, one of the fixtures of East Nashville has been country throwback singer and songwriter Margo Price. And thanks to another oddball of the Nashville music scene—Jack White and his Third Man Records—Margo was plucked out of The 5 Spot and the other East Nashville dives, and is getting her shot at the big time.
Touring and Merle Haggard have been an interesting proposition lately, ever since he was diagnosed with a double pneumonia back in December. It’s been on again, and off again. As soon as you hear it’s on, he cancels a show last minute due to heath. Then when you hear he’s still recovering, all of a sudden he decides to play a few dates. This has left some fans confused and frustrated, and many concerned.
“Some people will say, and have said, that I’m trying to run from country, but I’m never going to make anything other than a country record. As soon as I open my mouth, it’s going to be a country song. . . but it doesn’t make the think pieces any less amusing.”