Would you know a Grammy Award-winning country singer who has sold hundreds of thousands of records if you passed them in the street? Sturgill Simpson proved that you probably wouldn't.
Since he hit the country music scene in 2013 as an independent artist, Simpson has developed a cult following and earned lots of awards for his music. He made both NPR and Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of the Year lists in 2014, and his record A Sailor's Guide to Earth won the Best Country Album award at this year's Grammys.
But despite his success it seems like Simpson couldn't even get invited to this year's Country Music Association awards. His album didn't get any nominations at the awards show, and while a spokesperson says Simpson wasn't banned from the ceremony, the artist got the impression that he wasn't exactly welcome either.
So he showed up to busk in front of the awards ceremony's Nashville venue instead. Simpson dropped a guitar case in front of the Bridgestone Arena the night of the CMAs, with a sign that read "Struggling country singer … anything helps. (All donations go to the ACLU) God Bless America."
While he was trying to play a little joke on the CMAs about being left out of the ceremony, the joke was on Simpson later that night.
Before the show, Simpson shared a sarcastic message on his Facebook page:
"So excited to be playing the #cmaawards tonight!!! Gonna be doing a little busking out front. Come on down and join me!!!"
But while he was trying to prove a point about being left out of the awards show, Simpson's busking routine worked a little too well. Lots of guests just walked right past him. While thousands watched a Facebook Live stream of his performance, almost nobody on the street stopped to watch him play.
“You’ve got a better chance of getting in there than I do, I’ll tell you that," Simpson joked with one man as he walked by. After about an hour after the ceremony began, people caught on to the joke and a small crowd formed around Simpson to watch him play guitar.
You can watch Simpson's unscheduled concert here:
Posted by Sturgill Simpson on Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Fans have pointed out this isn't the first time Simpson and the country music establishment have butted heads. Last year, after the Academy of Country Music announced their Spirit Award would be dedicated to the late country star Merle Haggard, Simpson criticized the Academy in a Facebook post:
“If the ACM wants to actually celebrate the legacy and music of Merle Haggard, they should drop all the formulaic cannon fodder bull**** they’ve been pumping down rural America’s throat for the last 30 years [...] and start dedicating their programs to more actual country music," he wrote.
Does Simpson have a point about the awards show, or is his complaint just sour grapes?
[H/T: People Country]