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.