Sturgill Simpson Slams ACM’s, Garden & Gun for Disrespecting Merle Haggard
This story has been updated (see bottom)
Well, this is a side of Sturgill Simpson we haven’t seen for a while. But one that is completely valid as a close, personal friend of Merle Haggard during the country legend’s final years.
Last week, the ACM created a new award called the ‘Merle Haggard Spirit Award’ that was said to honor the contributions of Haggard by acknowledging artists who exemplify his uncompromising integrity and “singular vision in carving an indelible path in country music.”
“Merle passed shortly after our 2016 awards show and after this year’s Special Awards were announced,” says ACM Board President Ken Tucker. “That said, there was simply no way the Academy could hold what may be its most heartfelt event — ACM Honors — without creating a lasting way to acknowledge his legacy.”
It was announced Monday morning (8-29) that Miranda Lambert would be the inaugural recipient of the award.
Some may have noticed, despite including the name of a country legend, Saving Country Music had not mentioned this distinction as it could be considered a little disingenuous coming from the mainstream country music establishment. That is exactly how Sturgill Simpson took it, and slammed the award Monday morning in a statement.
Many years back, much like Willie and Waylon had years before, Merle Haggard said, ‘Fuck this town. I’m moving.’ and he left Nashville.
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.
The story of Merle Haggard telling off CBS Records executive Rick Blackburn are well-documented.
Sturgill Simpson continues…
I’m 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.
Along with twisting off on the ACM’s, Sturgill also took the opportunity to take on Garden & Gun magazine, after they promised Sturgill that Merle Haggard would be on the front of an issue in which he appeared in an interview with Merle. However at the last minute, the magazine put Chris Stapleton on the cover.
He was so excited about it and it goes without saying that I was completely beside myself along with my Grandfather who has always been a HUGE Merle fan. We spent the whole day of the interview visiting in his living room with our families and had a wonderful conversation with the journalist. Then we spent about two hours outside being photographed by a brilliant and highly respected photographer named David McClister until Merle had enough…he was still recovering from a recent bout of double pneumonia at the time and it was a bit cold that day on the ranch.
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 not the point.
Its about keeping your word and ethics.
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.
2 hour shoot..
no good photos..
OK buddy,..whatever you say.
Though Sturgill was apt to go off on the country music establishment earlier in his career, he recently has been playing a much more docile role. Sturgill is even being slowly accepted by the Nashville establishment. It was announced last week that he is being considered for three categories at this year’s CMA Awards. But that won’t stop him from speaking his mind.
“Some days, this town and this industry have a way of making we wish I could just go sit on Mars and build glass clocks,” Sturgill says.
After some misguided assumptions that this morning’s rant was directly against Miranda Lambert, Sturgill has clarified his statements to make sure she is not caught in the crossfire.
Shortly after I initially posted this it was announced that Miranda Lambert would be the award recipient.
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.
He also said he understood that the ACM’s were initially set up to help West Coast artists like Merle Haggard, and also clarified what his plans are for the CMA’s vis a vis his current consideration by the organization for their upcoming awards.
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.
August 29, 2016 @ 9:28 am
Just literally saw that on Facebook a few minutes ago, glad it didn’t take you long to post something on this.
August 29, 2016 @ 9:33 am
Sturgill is an American hero
August 29, 2016 @ 9:44 am
two guns up.
August 29, 2016 @ 9:45 am
Sturgill dropping the hot fire on these folks! I love it.
August 29, 2016 @ 9:47 am
August 29, 2016 @ 9:51 am
Trigger, thank you for actually writing articles and not rolling everything up into a video like so many websites do these days.
August 29, 2016 @ 12:50 pm
August 29, 2016 @ 1:38 pm
The reason you’re seeing this all across the internet has to do with advertising. Because display advertising no longer makes any serious money thanks to a host of reasons, websites now are turning to video where they can embed ads that get big payouts.
Video also appeals to people who don’t want to read. But those are not the folks I’m looking to attract to this website.
August 29, 2016 @ 2:22 pm
I’m not going to watch someone blather on when I could read at my own pace and assimilate information much more efficiently. Reading a well written article is a pleasure. Watching people talk, talk, talk is too much like tuning into cable news. There’s something to be said for the written medium that cannot be said for the video commentary.
August 29, 2016 @ 4:48 pm
Hey, folks consume media differently. Some like written stuff, some like video, some like it in podcast form. I’ve done all three, but my medium is writing. I don’t work too well without a backspace 🙂
August 29, 2016 @ 3:27 pm
Videos load too slowly. Keep on keeping on Trig.
August 29, 2016 @ 9:54 am
I read it, and ITA! I think that is what stopped me pursuing music, is how all these people are treated if they aren’t an overnight success and if they don’t stay a success.
August 29, 2016 @ 9:54 am
Nail hit firmly on the head.Well said Sturgill.
August 29, 2016 @ 9:56 am
Mirada Lambert isn’t fit to hold Merle’s guitar STRAP, let alone his guitar! Why is she getting that award, instead of Chris?
August 29, 2016 @ 9:57 am
She’s better than a LOT of people they could have chosen.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:02 am
Hell, even Toby NOW, would be better! I’d even go with Trace Adkins!
August 29, 2016 @ 10:13 am
I just can’t get behind Trace. Everything he does seems like it was made from a mediocre mold.
August 29, 2016 @ 1:28 pm
I know he gets kicked around a lot on this site,(and many times for good reason) but It would actually make sense for Toby to get the first one way before Miranda ever got it. Seeing his catalog is much bigger than Miranda’s and the fact he was actually great friends with the man right up to the end, even helping him out by filling in for him in one of his last shows when Merle was too weak to sing all the songs…He’s aslo had to fight his record company to get certain songs recorded,much like Merle did.
You could also go with other folks who knew him well and has had vast careers such as Travis Tritt,George Strait,Alan Jackson,and so many others..But they kicked all the above (including Toby) off the cliff so they have to go with one of their current anointed (and annoying) Outlaws for ratings. One that’s currently in the news all the time for who she’s divorcing,who she’s dating, “look heres the newest video of her crying on stage”blah blah.ratings ratings ratings..
Shit,I think I’d give it to Blake before her!
August 29, 2016 @ 2:38 pm
Yikes RWP, this guy would give it to Blake before Miranda. Really? Have ya read these blogs before? Blake is the anti-Merle. Blake is an actor who can sing awful songs & Merle writes poetry about the every man and has a voice that goes down like whiskey. Seriously dude, educate yourself before ya speak.
August 29, 2016 @ 3:55 pm
Lou,I said that half tounge in cheek.Six in one hand,half a dozen in the other when it comes to both of them for me….Now go and listen to those well written, poetic, great songs by Miranda about little red wagons,bathroom sinks,having blonde hair and that country music classic with Carrie called “Something Bad” and have fun!
August 29, 2016 @ 4:08 pm
RWP, yep 3 songs out of 100. Go back and listen to the 5 albums & Bathroom Sink is a stand out song!
August 29, 2016 @ 5:25 pm
To each their own,it’s all a matter of taste. But you really think she’s only had 3 bad songs out of a 100? Really?? If you think Bathroom Sink is a “stand out”, I won’t waste my breath anymore.It’s officially gotten to the point of arguing with a Taylor fan over “Shake it Off” lol….If that song is a stand out,I bet you really wet yourself over that John Prine desecration she did a few tears ago!………I’m out!
August 29, 2016 @ 8:37 pm
RWP I guess we will agree to disagree. PS the John Prine song must not have been so bad since Prine asked Miranda to sing a duet w/ him on his album that comes out in a few weeks.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:10 am
Her recent stuff isn’t really country, and she basically stopped writing for a while. On the other hand they clearly were going to give it to a “name”. And Miranda is the mainstream country artist designated to receive critical love/awards. (and really the big name guys are bad).
August 29, 2016 @ 10:13 am
Have you heard Vice? It’s pretty great. She’s also not that far removed from The House that Built Me.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:23 am
Still don’t like her that much. She’ll never be another Dolly or Loretta, Tammy, Kitty, etc.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:25 am
Miranda is a bit overrated, but she’s still good. And a hundred times better than 90% of the mainstream country singers (save for George Strait, Alan Jackson, Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe, Tim McGraw, Gary Allan, Josh Turner, Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan, Brandy Clark, Maddie and Tae, Chris Stapleton, and maybe Carrie Underwood. They roughly make up the other 10%.)
August 29, 2016 @ 10:47 am
I’m saving my final opinion on Vice until I hear it in the album. I am happy that she’s gone back to writing her own material (w/co-writers obvs). Lyrically it is actually adult, & doesn’t treat everything as a stereotype, but it gets listy (if the album is the story & it’s a mood song, this works better). The production is far more AC than country. It is an ok song a big step up from say Move or Diff for Girls, but not on the same level as McKenna, Brandy Clark, Chris etc).
The House that Built Me was seven years ago….and she didn’t write it (hell it wasn’t even pitched to her, Blake gave it to her). I’m ok with people not writing their own stuff, but since this award is supposedly partly about songwriting…
August 29, 2016 @ 10:54 am
I didn’t in any way see Sturgill’s statement as a slam on Miranda Lambert. As far as I know, Sturgill didn’t even know that Miranda had been named the inaugural recipient of the award. The news that she would be the one receiving the award came out just about the time Sturgill posted his rant. I just want to clarify that point.
I don’t even know if it’s fair to be discussing Miranda’s legitimacy to the award, or if we should focus on the award itself. When I saw the news last week I was conflicted. Sure, it’s a cool way to shine a spotlight on Merle and get his name out there more. But just like Sturgill, I felt like it was disingenuous. Sturgill probably felt it was more disingenuous than I did, but he was also really close to Merle right before he passed, so it’s his right to be disgruntled.
And let’s not rule out that Sturgill is speaking for people beyond himself. He may have just been the guy who decided to take the point on this.
August 29, 2016 @ 11:03 am
Totally OT, but I saw Charlie Daniels has invited Luke “Shake It For Me” Bryan to his 8th birthday show. I think that move killed his credibility with me….he can make up for it with Chris and Zturgill, the latter of whom I believe has already been invited.
August 29, 2016 @ 3:47 pm
Trigger, I don’t understand, Merle was honored by the ACMs in 2014 by George, Garth & Miranda and has 20 awards. I feel like the Academy has continued to pay homage to him so why is Sturgill so mad at this award?
August 29, 2016 @ 4:53 pm
I think only Sturgill can answer that question. He might have used this new award to vent his anger at the entire industry. That’s what it feels like. It might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. And as I’ve been saying, Sturgill was very close to Merle. Sturgill may be privy to some things Merle said later in life that we’re not, or may have taken special offense because they were so close.
August 30, 2016 @ 3:18 am
Or Sturgill, like other wounded heirs, wants to make sure everyone knows how close he was to Merle there at the end. I like Sturgill, and I agree with him, but this kind of virtue signalling and over-compensated indignation, what with the f-bombs and distributed protective caveats, makes Simpson sound more like Eddie Van Halen than Merle Haggard. The thing about Merle and executives like Blackburn was that Merle didn’t beat his chest and make a publicity circus out of it. His rebellion had a way of coming out as quality music and loyalty to his band.
August 30, 2016 @ 9:05 am
Sturgill Simpson didn’t make a publicity circus out of this issue, the media did. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll notice I posted this article three separate times with updates as opposed to three separate articles on basically the same subject. All Sturgill did was post a letter. The rest was due to the media, and the public. The reason his words resonated so resoundingly is because people are angry about the state of affairs. And so was Merle in his final days. There was a run of interviews he gave right before he passed where all he did was complain about modern country. I think Sturgill felt it was his time now to pick up that mantle. The issues he brought up were important, but not major. But I think Sturgill wanted to use them as a springboard to talk about the greater issues facing country music. Before, he shirked this role for whatever reason. Now, he’s chosen to embrace it. Perhaps it’s because he’s done with the grieving process after the passing of Merle, or maybe it’s something more specific that happened behind the scenes. Either way, I think this is just the beginning of the fire we’re going to see from Sturgill.
August 30, 2016 @ 7:30 am
I’m actually replying to Corncaster’s reply but I guess you can’t reply to a reply? But that’s neither here nor there. If Sturgill had wanted to make sure people knew how close he was to Merle, it just feels strange that he would wait this long to do it, doesn’t it? I feel like Sturgill has gone out of his way to be noncommittal and pretty diplomatic about an industry that has essentially ignored him, so I think that probably he and Merle shared this sense of disillusionment with what Sturgill referred to as Country Music, and this probably only added to the depth of their friendship. I also wonder what Merle’s rebellion would’ve looked and sounded like years ago had he had access to social media like Sturgill does? Things might’ve been a little more public. It seems a little unfair to compare their different forms of rebellion, a little apples to oranges, if you will.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:00 am
Bet the establishment is removing his name from the nominees, as I type this. Turncoat assholes!
August 29, 2016 @ 10:59 am
I believe that round of voting for the CMA’s has either already wound up, or is winding up shortly. I’m hoping he gets nominated, and wins. And then we’ll see if he shows up, and what he says. I’m kind of hoping for chaos.
And it’s probably worth mentioning that there are many fundamental differences between the ACM’s and CMA’s. Basically the ACM’s are promotional company focused mostly on the production of their awards shows. The CMA’s are actually a governing body for country music, deciding who gets into the Hall of Fame along with other matters.
August 29, 2016 @ 11:06 am
Thank you for clarifying. No doubt, they’ll find a way to blackball him…it’s what they do to good artists who piss them off…they make an example of them!
August 30, 2016 @ 1:17 pm
Perhaps you’re both right, and I hope you are. The music industry has made me suspicious of everyone, and it will take a while for that to subside.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:03 am
I can’t really add on to what Sturgill has already passionately and eloquently said. I respect him even more knowing that he is being considered for awards this year and still spoke his mind and stood up for his friend.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:03 am
“Nashville is rough on the livin’, but she really speaks well of the dead…”
August 29, 2016 @ 11:00 am
The ORIGINAL Outlaw.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:12 am
So is Sturgill going to remove his name from CMA contention? Turn down a performing slot at next years ACM’s?
Country awards shows have plenty of problems, but creating an award after Merle isn’t one of them. (oh and btw in no genre are legends given proper send-offs and allowed to have one last hit, in country at least they still give you a shot after 40).
August 29, 2016 @ 11:07 am
The CMA’s and ACM’s are two completely different entities, and hypothetically are competition with each other. I don’t know that we should make any distinction between the two entities through Strugill’s remarks, or if we shouldn’t. Either way, it’s going to make for a spicy upcoming CMA season if Sturgill gets nominated, or God forbid, wins.
I definitely see your point about the bigger issues facing the ACM’s than wanting to honor Merle Haggard. This morning they’re probably thinking they just tried to do a nice thing, and all of a sudden they’re facing flack. I can see this issue both ways. I had a problem with it, while at the same time saw the value in getting Merle’s name out there some more. It’s a tough issue, but as a fried of Merle’s, I respect Sturgill’s right to react however he wants. He had a bond with Merle most of us can’t relate to.
August 29, 2016 @ 12:13 pm
yeah, I guess I read his comments as taking shots at award shows & Nashville in general vs aimed only at ACM’s. And Sturgill is totally entitled to his opinion & being close to Merle I get where he is coming from, but from a bigger picture it’s generally how things go.
In sports, music etc the peak tends to be while you’re on the younger side, then it starts to move away from you as you age, and then when you’ve been gone for a while, we start to remember you again fondly. I think I prefer that to, not remember you at all, & changing of the guards is also something that should probably happen. Some artists seem to accept this, others take it personally.
August 30, 2016 @ 2:34 am
Naming an award after Merle is a product or indicator of those bigger problems, though, because he was against a lot of those problems like the corporatization of country, watering it down with pop, etc. And he wasn’t exactly quiet with his opposition. He was not just honest, he was insightful and had a talent for cutting through bullshit on all sides. And these qualities are a large part of why anyone would want to honor him….. which is *why* it’s hypocritical of these awards to use his name. It’s cheap lipservice and it *dishonors* what he stood for.
August 29, 2016 @ 10:26 am
I’m sure he signed the death warrant as soon he typed this. Those awards don’t mean anything, anymore. Doubt he wanted to join Kimye and the rest of the non country idiots on stage to sing at the ACMs.
August 29, 2016 @ 11:15 am
Slam the shows all ya want but back off the Miranda hate. Miranda has worshipped Merle since the jump. Plays his music on tour exposing it to many who never have heard of him. She sang with Kristofferson at The Kennedy Center Honors for Merle. Heck Merle tweeted about her many times. Her love for him is widely known. Second point, Miranda’s music is in his tradition. Listen to all 5 solo records, 2 Pistol Annie cds- this music is constantly changing the Nashville sound, pushing boundaries on subject matter, etc. She has done so on a big stage for years now & continues to impress. Sorry to the haters but Miranda is very deserving!
August 29, 2016 @ 12:40 pm
Couldn’t agree more …and well supported , Leigh
August 29, 2016 @ 1:52 pm
“Merle tweeted about her many times.” He was married 5 times; maybe he was just scouting for number 6.
August 29, 2016 @ 2:14 pm
How glendel what a sexist remark- how surprising. Seems the Good Ol Boy club got their panties in s bunch that a girl is getting this honor. How very typical!
August 29, 2016 @ 12:01 pm
Merle and Sturgill were obviously very close.
I am always one for calling out The Machine..
Sturgill has established himself with no help whatsoever from it, so let him bash away.
August 29, 2016 @ 12:07 pm
It’s about time someone grew a pair! I wish more artist would follow suit and maybe we could get our music back instead of the bullshit they are spraying!
August 29, 2016 @ 12:34 pm
Just to throw this out there if you skip to 9:30 you’ll hear Chris Stapleton talking about the Garden and Gun cover. https://youtu.be/S2q59f02qNc
August 29, 2016 @ 12:36 pm
” 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.”
Sounds like Sturgill reads SCM . He’s basically summed up what Trigger and most of us have been saying for years . I am always grateful to ANYONE in a position to be recognized and quoted for actually speaking out and calling ” country ” music what it is . I don’t care WHO is saying it when they have a forum who will undoubtedly hear it and at least consider if not agree , with it .
August 29, 2016 @ 1:53 pm
Just when I thought I couldn’t be a bigger Sturgill fan.
August 29, 2016 @ 2:03 pm
Nashville has been pushing the mindless drible out promoting the cultural decay that rural america has been faced with. The rampant promotion of alcohol drugs and sex has worn down the values of its people.
Instead of having people who actually contribute to our heritage and culture, it seems as if they are trying to wear us down to mindless consumers who want a truck, not because they need it but because its “cool”.
Im not saying theres not a place for drinking songs, cheating songs because these things happen and they should be talked about just not in such a mindless way that promote it 24/7. I listen to modern country radio every other song its promoting the party lifestyle its brainwashing people into thinking this is normal. Songs talking about breaking up at the first little hicup in a relationship and going off and chasing all the boys. Music should be generative not degenerate.
Sorry for the rant.
August 30, 2016 @ 3:30 am
Don’t apologize. Country music has always been about Saturday night and Sunday morning. Now, not so much the Sunday morning, although you can see some of that light slipping under the shades now and then. I think there should be both. The country is in bad shape, there’s a lot of darkness. Sturgill has been staring into the void so long, it has clearly stared back into him. What made that old country music so sturdy is that it understood the concept of “sin.” Nowadays not so much, either from the party boys or the angry young men. But then, some things are rare as rubies.
Frank the Tank
August 29, 2016 @ 2:08 pm
Right on! I’m glad he let loose and said what he did.
On a related note, I finally got to see Sturgill Simpson live a couple of weeks ago and, wow, what a show! The venue was a hall with no seating and I got there early so I was right up front.
The band was excellent, Sturgill played electric guitar on a few songs and I thought the horn section added a really cool sound. He played songs from his first two albums (and a few covers) in the first hour and then played the new album in order in the second hour. Almost every song featured extended instrumental breaks, which was really cool, and I never realized before how powerful his voice is. Easily one of the best concerts I’ve seen, if not the best.
August 29, 2016 @ 2:11 pm
Does Sturgill even know that the ACM’s were created for Merle and the west coasters? Maybe 3 artists could have been given this award- Stapleton (but only 1 cd), Church & Miranda. I find it comforting they are having someone Merle would have liked not Shelton, FGL or Luke. Merle picked Miranda to honor him on a few shows threw the years.
August 29, 2016 @ 2:33 pm
Let’s not try to make this a Miranda vs. Sturgill issue. There was NOTHING in Sturgill’s statement that implied or inferred anything against Miranda, and at the time Sturgill’s statement was released, so was the news of Miranda winning the award, so it would have been impossible for Sturgill to even know Miranda was the recipient. Maybe Sturgill doesn’t like Miranda as well, but I don’t think it is fair to either artist to assume this. Sturgill was taking his aim at the name of the award, NOT Miranda.
August 29, 2016 @ 3:37 pm
Sturgill recently clarified that this statement was not a shot at miranda.
August 29, 2016 @ 4:30 pm
Yes, if I remember right, the ACM was formed in the mid-1960s to honor artists like Merle who were based out here in the West, a part of the country that most of the country music establishment in Nashville seemed to pay lip service to in those days, and, if this imbroglio is any indication, it still does–except when the ACM holds its awards shindig in Las Vegas.
As to Miranda Lambert getting the first award named after “The Hag”–well, I’m still not all that wild about her voice, and probably won’t ever be; but if they’re going to give it to anyone, at least they gave it to her instead of one of the Bromeisters (and that would include her ex).
August 29, 2016 @ 3:05 pm
Damn, I love this statement from Sturgill. The establishment got what they wanted from guys like Cash and Haggard, and tossed them away like an old newspaper. Luckily, Cash got his second act with the Highwaymen, and later a third act with the Rick Rubin produced stuff. Unfortunately a guy like Merle didn’t get that in his career. I don’t blame him for wanting that one last hit.
As for the comments about Sturgill and award shows, if anyone has watched/listened to any interviews with Sturgill you know that all of the award show B.S. aren’t why he’s doing the music game. It isn’t for the establishment as it is in Nashville.
Lastly, I guess I don’t understand the hate for Miranda. Is her music Loretta or Tammy? No. Is all of her music traditional country? No. One thing she does have going for her that typically her music has substance to it, where nothing else on the radio does. For that I’ll give her some slack. She’s been about the only voice on the radio I could stomach for some time now
August 29, 2016 @ 3:44 pm
Sturgill sounds wound up. is he off the herb?
August 29, 2016 @ 4:43 pm
There isn’t a damn thing I can say to any of this, because Sturgill said it all. Damn fuckin’ straight, dude.
August 29, 2016 @ 4:52 pm
Sturgill Just posted an update to his original statement.
August 29, 2016 @ 5:06 pm
Even though he’s not planning to be at the CMA’s, I hope he’s nominated. It will make an even bigger statement if he’s not there.
August 29, 2016 @ 4:54 pm
So, Sturgill is obviously a fan of “Watchmen.”
August 30, 2016 @ 2:38 am
Hah, found it! Was scouring the comments for someone who caught that.
August 29, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
this must have really pissed him off, judging from the fact that he’s wanted to stay out of the whole “saving country music” talk. still, I’m 99% sure he’s a frequent visitor of the site
August 29, 2016 @ 6:09 pm
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like every time I hear something about Sturgill, he seems to be angry about something. Somewhat annoying. We get it. He doesn’t like award shows. I have always viewed these award shoes as a great way for an artist to promote their music. If an artist I like happens to win an award, great…but I don’t get angry. So, if Sturgill really is nominated and he is offered to do a performance, it seems foolish not to attend. Where would Chris Stapleton be now if he did not perform with Timberlake and accept his awards? Something tells me his album would not even remotely be as big.
August 30, 2016 @ 5:41 am
Think about it, he had to play with Justin Timberlake.
That’s the state country is in…
August 30, 2016 @ 9:51 am
So true…sigh..Industry POV: It’s risky putting Stapleton on by himself cause he’s too country, so as a solution we will pair him up with a non country , pop superstar like Timberlake…and that should keep our precious ratings high….oh but wait a sec….it didn’t work! I know, what to do…let’s get Pit bull and Pink on our show, that’ll fix it!
March 18, 2019 @ 1:15 am
Justin Timberlake is fine one his own; why should this young man (Sturgil) perform with him just to get noticed? The pop princes (Timberlake and contempoaries) and the pop princesses should perform alone as pop princes and pop princeses, with Sturgil and others in the genre of country music as country music stars.
August 29, 2016 @ 6:11 pm
Garden and Gun is a poser magazine mostly filled with private jet service and Range Rover ads.
God I love sturgill
August 29, 2016 @ 6:24 pm
Wonder if Jason Aldean comes back with a “nobody gives a shit what you think” remark.
August 29, 2016 @ 6:32 pm
ATTENTION, all you Miranda Lambert haters on this blog….STOP IT. STRUGIL updated his post on facbook. READ IT. Seriously, take a look at all the posts on this blog about how MIRANDA LAMBERT is not worthy of this awarded this ENTIRE ARTICLE has NOTHING TO DO WITH MIRANDA LAMBERT. WOW, horrible. Simply horrible with all the degrading comments about an artist who has GIVEN BACK TO HER COMMUNITY through her work.
Maybe some on this blog should take a look at themselves before they PROCLAIM how terrible MIRANDA LAMBERT is receiving this award.
August 29, 2016 @ 6:41 pm
“P.S. F*ck this town. I’m leaving.” Was he being serious, I wonder?
August 29, 2016 @ 9:33 pm
My guess is Sturgill will be living in the Northern California / Pacific Northwest area not to far from where Merle claimed his stake sooner than later.
August 30, 2016 @ 11:24 am
Merle found the beauty here in Northern California – we would welcome Sturgill to do the same!
August 29, 2016 @ 6:44 pm
I really appreciated Sturgill’s comments on the current state of the industry. I am, enjoying the rise in new artists like Sturgill, Marg, Whitey, Cody, etc who show respect for tradition, but also bring something both new and trad to the table.
I was saddened by Merle’s passing. I had a ticket for what would have been my first time to see him live, but he passed a few days prior. So close….
So, I have never really gotten into Miranda Lambert’s radio hits. I don’t dislike her but I don’t get the same feeling as I do from Margo Price, Elizabeth Cook, Loretta, or Kasey Weldon. For those of you here who like Miranda’s music, which of her tracks would you recommend outside her hits that might change my neutral impression?
August 29, 2016 @ 9:42 pm
Desperation, Love is Looking for You, Hard Staying Sober, Airstream Song, Makin’ Plans, Damn Thing (Pistol Annies), Trailer for Rent (Pistol Annies)
Other than “Hard Staying Sober” and “Damn Thing”, those are solo writes from her.
August 29, 2016 @ 9:45 pm
I think , Biscuit , that like most Artists with a capital A , Miranda’s best stuff is tucked away on her albums ( Tim McGraw , Josh Turner , Joe Nichol come to mind in this regard ) . Her radio stuff , in my opinion , is hit and miss and , of course , its about the label trying to chase trends or second guess what the young mainstream demographic will respond to . If you give Miranda’s catalogue a serious listen I think you’ll find that she covers a lot of musical ground , delivers anything but cookie-cutter ‘ contemporary ‘ arrangements ( with the exception of the duet with Keith Urban which was about as cookie cutter as it gets , but that was HIS record , not hers ) and has a lot to say in a Brandy Clark /Kasey Musgraves kind of way …fresh , honest and relate able by folks over 16 . Yes she’s thrown a few duds out there ( the Carrie Underwood duet -OMG-and Little Red Wagon ) but again , and in my opinion , she serves a song ..especially a well-written COUNTRY song and you’ll find plenty of those on her albums . Its rocky and raw , no question , but its sincere, diverse in subject matter and always delivered with conviction . Check out Famous In A Small Town – Me And Your Cigarettes , Mama’s Broken Heart , Love Letters ( don’t get more country than that one ), Greyhound Bound For Nowhere ( listen to THAT vocal performance ) Dry Town , Holdin On To You . Miranda’s got vocal chops that very few can come close to …filled with control , character , technique and emotion . I’m not even sure her radio stuff would indicate that to most mainstream-ers .
August 29, 2016 @ 8:01 pm
What Big Cat said.
August 29, 2016 @ 8:30 pm
May have dropped acid and listened to sturgill for a few hours a couple weekends ago….didn’t think it was humanly possible to like the guy any more after that, until now. Woo hoo!
August 29, 2016 @ 11:13 pm
I lack the expertise of country music contributors on this prestigious website . . . but . . . may we all . . .
It seems to me that criticizing the ACM for initiating this ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award to honor Merle on the basis that the country music industry distanced itself from Merle’s work at times, making this award disingenuous, falls into the category of “Let no good deed go unpunished.”
While I empathize with Sturgill’s contempt for any industry slight to Merle, and while I agree that Sturgill has every right to express his view, it would have been best, in my view, to withhold the heartfelt criticism to avoid throwing a shadow over this honor for Merle, which also, though unintended, led to disparaging comments about the award recipient.
This award is presented to “the singer-songwriter and performer whose career reflects the uncompromising integrity and steadfastness of spirit embodied by the late Merle Haggard. Beyond crafting iconic songs and delivering genuine performances, this deserving artist–like Merle Haggard–is characterized by their [sic] singular vision in carving an indelible path in country music.”
The problem with all awards is that handing an award to one deserving artist effectively suggests that all others are less deserving, and these other artists who have also contributed greatly do not deserve to feel slighted.
I believe that Miranda Lambert is an outstanding choice for this award. I greatly admire her work and believe that she has well earned this honor. I can think of other artists who are also highly deserving.
August 30, 2016 @ 3:56 am
I think you completely missed his point. Sturgill is saying its a joke that the establishment ‘Nashville’ wants to exploit Merel’s name after they turned their back on him. I don’t think any of us can judge these comments since we were not part of Merel and Sturgill’s relationship. Only Sturgill knows what Merle told him and it appears obvious what that was.
Sturgill made it clear this has absolutely nothing to do with Miranda.
August 30, 2016 @ 9:08 am
Some good perspective Lynne.
August 30, 2016 @ 1:06 am
Anyone else want to see Sturgill show up at the CMA’s and sing Folded Flag?
August 30, 2016 @ 4:11 am
Anyone else think this could kick Sturhill in the ass to record some kick ass music this fall in studio?
Check out his follow up remarks that his next “albums” will go #1 without nashville’s help
August 30, 2016 @ 4:12 am
August 30, 2016 @ 7:18 am
While I wish Strugill well,and hope he get’s nominated for a CMA Award,I won’t watch the awards show unless Loretta is on.
August 30, 2016 @ 7:51 am
Some days are diamonds in this business.. like when someone like Sturgill with a rather large format uses it to tell the damn truth! This hitchin-the-wagon bullshit is so obnoxious! And yes.. David McClister got the money shot for G&G.. cuz he’s DAVID McCLISTER!
August 30, 2016 @ 10:06 am
it is amazing the legs this story has.
Trigger you have been calling him polarizing lately.
I’m a bit amazed at the coverage this is getting.
August 30, 2016 @ 4:00 pm
Loved the article Trigg. Sturgill was spot on about the industry in how Merle was done. My biggest problem was how they done Merle on the last CMT award show( I want to say it was that award show, because it was not long after he died). But, I happen to watch the part where they was giving a tribute to Merle. It was not much of a tribute, in my opinion, considering how short it was. They was more focused on the whole pop stars mixed in with country star type of thing. Needless to say, I was not impressed.
August 30, 2016 @ 4:35 pm
Well stated..so reassuring someone in Sturgill’s position hasn’t been ‘bought’..Great site this is and keep up fighting the good fight.
August 30, 2016 @ 10:03 pm
Friends lash out on music award in Merle Haggard’s name.
August 31, 2016 @ 6:04 am
Perfect Sturgill The ACM is a joke and your Right in your opinion and assessment.
…I own all your music, and this makes me want to buy it all again. From KY now living in PA, I look forward to seeing you Oct 15 in Pittsburgh.
August 31, 2016 @ 7:14 am
I can promise you one thing: If the CMA’s fail to give Merle a tribute,the CMA’s will feel the anger of Country Music fans from all over the US,Canada and the world.
Mark my words on that!
August 31, 2016 @ 2:35 pm
Folks that think Sturgill wrote that as self promotion or to get some publicity, or some have said that he is always angry about mainstream stuff and that is getting old….you need to understand he is like many of us that can’t sit back and see the industry continue to disrespect country music and be hypocrites.
How many times can you sit and hear how the industry is so true to its roots, and they owe so much to guys like Merle, then they roll out some dbag like Thomas Rhett or meat head like Brantley Gilbert. They promote Luke Bryant who couldn’t sing his way out of fucking paper bag. FGL are clowns. Sam Hunt is not a country singer.
Thing is, guys like Sturgill, Whitey Morgan, Jamey Johnson could sing shit like those artists put out in their sleep. They can write Dallas Davidson type songs while taking a shit. It’s a fucking joke to them.
They don’t care either, until the industry starts to back pedal with how they have treated one of their heroes. Sure, the ACM’s have honored Merle over the years, but they also should have enough respect for him to realize there is no one that the industry promotes that deserves an award named after Merle. Nobody. ACM’s sure as shit aren’t going to give that award to a Sturgill, Whitey, Jamey, Jason Eady, etc….
Miranda is a good choice, but it is also a pretty safe one. I’m sure they had these nominees:
Blake- no way.
Miranda- actually Merle’s friend
Luke – his light is dying out
Brad Paisley- actually doing commercial jingles now after making a career out of songs that sound like commercial jingles
Keith Urban- how is this guy still making “country music”
June 25, 2022 @ 12:02 pm
How ’bout Luke Combs,who should be getting MUCH MORE LOVE? ( Incidentally,what happened to Brantley Gilbert,who was supposed to be Country’s “It” boy,” but has become a bad joke? And where the devil is Jade Eagleson,who started so promisingly ?)
Rhett,Bryant and Hunt a handsome cowboys, which is why they’re promoted to the hilt while FAR MORE TALENTED and desrving,but less telegenic artists like Sturgill, Whitey Morgan ,Jamey Johnson, Jason Eady et al are ignored.