Last night Sturgill Simpson took his outlaw nature to new heights when he stood outside the CMA Awards to busk in quiet protest. Simpson has long been a vocal critic of the Nashville country music bureaucracy, an institution that he feels has blackballed him despite his success elsewhere. In his appearance outside of Bridgestone Arena last night, Simpson performed songs and answered questions, all while live streaming the entire thing and taking the time to speak out on prejudice, gun control, and anything else that he felt important.
In one revealing moment, a fan asked Simpson whether he’d ever like to collaborate with artists like Chris Stapleton or Jason Isbell — other country stars who are seen to have similar values and tastes. Simpson answered this favorably, first noting that he has his own music to sort out before thinking about a Highwaymen-type project.
But Simpson did pose a pretty exciting possibility for when he feels like his best songs are behind him. “I’m only in competition with myself,” he said, “so when I feel like I can’t outdo myself anymore, I think it would be cool if Jason [Isbell], Chris [Stapleton], and Margo [Price], and a bunch of people like that, we all just went on the road together forever. I think that’s what the fans want.”
And if Twitter is to be trusted, that is indeed what the fans want.
Check out the video up top. Down below, read Simpson’s quite excellent response to a question asking him for a mock CMAs acceptance speech.
“Nobody needs a machine gun, and that’s comin’ from a guy who owns quite a few guns. Gay people should have the right to be happy and live their life any way they want and get married if they want to without fear of getting drug down the road behind a pickup truck. Black people are probably tired of getting shot in the streets and being enslaved by the industrial prison complex. Hegemony and fascism is alive and well in Nashville, Tennessee. Thank you very much.”