Sturgill Simpson slams country music industry over Merle Haggard award

Sturgill Simpson went on a rant on his Facebook page Monday at what he called the "unjust treatment of a music legend" due to the creation of a new award in the name of the recently deceased Merle Haggard.

Stimpson rips ACM for 'formulaic cannon fodder b.s. they've been pumping down rural America's throat'

Sturgill Simpson performs onstage during the Boston Calling Music Festival on September 26, 2015. (Getty Images)

Miranda Lambert on Tuesday night will receive the Merle Haggard Spirit Award at the Academy of Country Music Honors ceremony, but one country singer is having none of it.

Sturgill Simpson went on a rant on his Facebook page Monday at what he called the "unjust treatment of a music legend" due to the creation of the new award.

Haggard died in April at age 79. He was a prominent figure of the outlaw country movement and pioneer of the rougher-edged, California-born Bakersfield sound, which was a reaction to the slickly produced, strings-laden music emerging from Nashville.

Simpson feels the award is exploiting Haggard and is against what the rebellious artist, whose classics included Mama Tried and Sing Me Back Home, stood for.

"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," said Simpson.

Miranda Lambert and Merle Haggard are show in December 2014 at a Nashville music industry event. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT)

The Kentucky-born Simpson just finished off 11 Canadian dates this month in support of his third full-length release, A Sailor's Guide to Earth, and resumes his tour in September in the U.S.

Simpson predicted he would be "blackballed" by the industry. He also took pains to say that he has no issue with Lambert as an artist, although he added, "something tells me that in her heart, she knows I'm dead on."

Lambert has yet to publicly comment.

Reaction to his post online was mixed, with one pointing out the ACM Awards were originally based out of California and not on Nashville's Music Row.

The ACM Honors will be broadcast in the U.S. on CBS on Sept. 9.

Read Simpson's full rant (warning: contains explicit language)

With files from The Associated Press


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?