Sturgill Simpson Remembers John Prine After No ‘In Memoriam’ at CMAs

Among many other criticisms being lobbed at the 2020 CMA Awards broadcast on Wednesday (11-11), the lack of an In Memoriam segment, and specifically overlooking major deaths in country music such as John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver have quite a few hopping mad.

This is in spite of the CMA’s actually devoting more time than normal to tribute both artists that have passed away recently, and an important living legends. The program commenced with an extended tribute to Charlie Daniels performed by Dierks Bentley, Ashley McBryde, Jason Aldean, and others. Daniels passed away on July 6th at the age of 83.

Jon Pardi also paid tribute to 90’s country star Joe Diffie, who died due to COVID-19 complications on March 29th, and was one of the first celebrities to pass away due in part to the disease. Kenny Rogers was also paid tribute to by Little Big Town. Rogers died on March 20th. Darius Rucker and Reba McEntire sang “In The Ghetto” written by songwriter and performer Mac Davis, who passed on September 29th.

But unlike the ACM Awards held on September 16th that included an extended In Memoriam segment, and made sure to give mention to even side players and songwriters such as Jimmy Capps, David Olney, and Gary McSpadden, the CMAs didn’t devote what would have taken 30 seconds to list off the names of fallen country music greats in 2020, of which there’s been a sizable amount of.

“Two seconds, that’s all it would have took,” Sturgill Simpson said in a missive on Instagram. “Don’t get it twisted…wouldn’t be caught dead at this tacky ass glitter and botox cake & cock pony show even if my chair had a morphine drip. I just wanted to see if they would say his name but nope. No time for Buddha.”

Though Sturgill focused mostly on the oversight of John Prine, many in Texas and beyond remarked on the forgoing of mentions for Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver who both just recently passed away, as well as Johnny Bush and James Hand.

Other notable 2020 passings include Justin Townes Earle, Harold Reid of The Statler Brothers, Willie Nelson drummer and long-time right hand man Paul English, legendary drummers Biff Adam and W.S. Holland, Bakersfield legend Fuzzy Owen, and Opry legend Jan Howard, along with others.

The CMAs also failed to mention the new Country Music Hall of Fame members, which they regularly do. Hank Williams Jr., Marty Stuart, and songwriter Dean Dillon were all selected for the 2020 class.

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