Sturgill Simpson: ACM, CMA, Music Row ‘Don’t Walk It Like They Talk It’
Early Monday (Aug. 29), Sturgill Simpson shared a Facebook post blasting the country music industry for its posthumous treatment of Merle Haggard, specifically calling out the Academy of Country Music for its new Merle Haggard Spirit Award and for not celebrating what Simpson calls "actual country music.” A few hours later, the singer-songwriter amended his previous statements, standing firm in his position but clarifying his earlier words.
Shortly after Simpson posted his comments, Miranda Lambert was announced as the first recipient of the Merle Haggard Spirit Award (she will receive the honor on Tuesday night (Aug. 30) at the 2016 ACM Honors). Simpson begins his update by explaining that his original thoughts "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," Simpson writes, adding, "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."
The artist goes on to clarify that he is aware that the Academy of Country Music was originally created to honor West Coast country acts, and that during his lifetime, Haggard was the recipient of 20 ACM honors -- "but all of this is irrelevant as none of it has anything to do with the original point I was trying to make."
"My point was that all of these organizations don't walk it like they talk it," he explains. "I called the ACM out directly because they are simply the latest in a long line of organizations that have done the same since Merle's death ... and even before. Showing homage and handing lifetime achievement awards to the greats of yesterday while claiming to uphold and hold dear the original values and integrity of country music's legacy. Yet these are just hollow words ... merely empty semantics. One needs only to look glancingly at the majority of the music that they, along with the CMAs, predominantly choose to recognize and promote at their award shows."
The Country Music Association will reveal the nominees for the 2016 CMA Awards on Wednesday (Aug. 31). Earlier this month, Saving Country Music reported that Simpson was among the preliminary nominees for Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year; however, Simpson shares in his update that, whether or not he's nominated, he won't be attending, as he already has a (sold-out) concert on his calendar for the night of the awards show (Nov. 2).
"I fully realize that as I type this, meetings and conversations are taking place on Music Row to ensure I am blackballed from the industry and that's perfectly fine with me. I'm not sure how you can blackball somebody you don't acknowledge in the first place anyway," Simpson says. "Yet, even though they mostly go out of their way to ignore artists like myself and Jason Isbell, I assure you they are more than aware of our existence. They are also well aware that we don't need them ...
"With that said, I have no more need to make enemies with these people than I have a need to be their friends. If anything I'm trying to help them. Because more and more everyday, people are waking up to the situation and they are pissed," he continues. "Perhaps country music, especially Nashville, should wake up too before it's too late."
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