We love to speak long and loudly about the virtues of younger, upsurging artists such as Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Cody Jinks, Margo Price, and others, and how they’re turning the country industry upside down with their successes. But why is Marty Stuart’s efforts going systematically overlooked?
Sturgill made his first 2017 post-Grammy appearance at the Okeechobee, and many fans noticed there was no Laur Joamets, and no horns on stage with him. After the rumor mill got stirring in earnest, Sturgill addressed the issue directly on Sunday (3-5) afternoon.
On Tuesday (2-28), Sturgill Simpson addressed ticketing issues with his fans who are seeing these immediate sellouts and tickets getting posted for $400 and up on secondary sites, especially after his popularity has taken a sharp rise due to his Grammy awards and nominations, and a viral Saturday Night Live performance.
For 40 years, Don Markham was the horn player in Merle Haggard’s backing band, The Strangers. In fact he outlasted every other permanent member in the band, and aside from a few hiatuses throughout the years, was the only constant member. He also played on every single Merle Haggard release since 1974, though you may have not noticed him.
After Sturgill Simpson and his recent album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth took home the trophy for Best Country Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards and was in contention for Album of the Year, some wondered if the ACM Awards would finally wise up and offer Sturgill Simpson a nomination.
‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth’ rocketed to the top of the iTunes charts, landing at #1 in country, and #7 overall. And that wasn’t the only album that saw a sales spike. What’s also a bit surprising is how the country music industry seems to be ignoring the surge, while talking about the surge for other artists.
There actually was an artist that was so clearly a victim of systemic bias and rigging of the system at the hands of the 2017 Grammy Awards, it’s almost shocking. And nobody is talking about it. In fact Beyoncé was one of the very reasons this particular artist got marginalized.
Ahead of the telecast portion of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night (2-12), pre-telecast awards were handed out in a host of categories covering country, Americana, bluegrass, and roots, including big awards like Best Country Song, Best Country Album, and Best Americana Album. Sturgill Simpson won Best Country Album.
The tables have been flipped and the tide has turned. Sturgill Simpson—the consummate underdog and viciously independent country songwriter and performer whose helped lead the way and kicked down doors for a country music insurgency was awarded the Grammy for Best Country Album Sunday night (2-12) during the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
Sturgill Simpson is up for two major awards, and will also have one of only eight solo performance slots on the entire night. He will perform backed up by the famous horn section The Dap-Kings. Sturgill has to be considered the front runner for Best Country Album since he is also up for the all-genre Album of the Year, but nothing is assured.
Sturgill Simpson was planning to take 2017 off due to the recent birth of his second child, and a sense that he had an opportunity to rest on his laurels a little bit. But then two huge Grammy nominations for Best Country Album and Album of the Year shook up those plans, and now the philosophy is to strike while the iron is hot.
Sturgill Simpson will perform at the 2017 Grammy Awards producers confirmed Thursday morning (2-2). Though a performance slot was pretty much assured to the upsurging country artist after his recent album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth was nominated for both Best Country Album, and the all-genre Album of the Year category…
So here we are, having spent nearly a decade climbing up the face of a mountain we thought we may never reach the apex of, and what is one of the last obstacles we’re facing? The small, but very vocal minority of independent and underground fans that seem to resent this newfound success for the top level of independent acts.
This is a pretty significant sales spike for A Sailor’s Guide, which has become a matter of great intrigue by the public after it shocked the world by getting nominated for the Grammy Awards’ Album of the Year. But what’s even more surprising is how the performance of Sturgill’s other records has been boosted by the SNL appearance.
The fact that the Grammy committee considered turning down ‘A Sailor’s Guide’ for Best Country Album shows how stringent the litmus test is for these country categories. This is important because of the controversy that erupted after it was revealed that Beyoncé’s song “Daddy Lessons” was turned down by the same committee for not being country enough.
In the music business, they call it a “moment.” Some artists go their entire careers without ever having one, even quite successful artists. A “moment” is what caused Chris Stapleton to rocket to the biggest artist in all of country music. A “moment” is what rockets the obscure to the profound. And a “moment” is what Sturgill Simpson experienced late Saturday night.
This year many of the artists, labels, managers, fans, and even many of the individuals involved in the Grammy nomination process are feeling let down like many years, and are scratching their heads on how certain efforts got overlooked, while others got pushed to the forefront.
Yeah, I know. I know. I don’t need you to tell me how not country Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is. I don’t want to hear how horn sections have no place in country music. Did you happen to notice the name of this website as you navigated here? Don’t think the country-ness of A Sailor’s Guide hasn’t been a hot topic of discussion?
Add yet another accolade to the list of Sturgill Simpson’s growing accomplishments. Announced late Saturday night (12-17) during the latest episode of Saturday Night Live, the surprise contender for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards in February will be the musical guest on the venerable TV staple January 14.
Yeah yeah, it’s awesome that Sturgill Simpson received an Album of the Year nomination from the Grammy Awards for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and everything, and just the nomination itself feels like an awesome victory overcoming insurmountable odds for an underdog record and artist. But what are the prospects that Sturgill Simpson could actually win this thing?
A Sailor's Guide to Earth, Adele, Alabama Shakes, Alison Krauss, Arcade Fire, Beck, Chris Stapleton, Grammy Awards, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, O Brother Where Art Thou, Ray Charles, Robert Plant, Steely Dan, Sturgill Simpson