Tonight Sturgill Simpson made his ‘SNL’ debut, due in large part to a surprise Grammy nomination for Album Of The Year. His 2016 album A Sailor’s Guide To Earth came out back in April of last year, but when the Grammys nominated it for their most coveted award, heads began to turn. Earlier he kicked things off with a fiery and rambunctious performance of “Keep It Between The Lines,” and now he’s closed out his debut appearance with a rendition of “Call To Arms,” the final song off his new record, and a pointed critique of US military action and mindsets.
Given the album is a tribute to his son, and an instruction manual of sorts, this statement is both political and personal. It’s advice to his son, but also a scathing critique of the way American propaganda surrounding military action abroad currently works. The band absolutely howls through the performance, and Simpson ends it the only way a song this spirited could conclude — by smashing his guitar.