As Chris Stapleton geared up for his second ever performance on the famed Saturday Night Live stage, he sent fans into a bit of a social media frenzy. Stapleton posted a tweet saying, “Tonight we’ve got some extra Kentucky in NYC.”
A mischievous Sturgill Simpson then appears behind the sticker to snag his hat. And for the next four hours, fans really wanted to know what was going on.
It turns out Sturgill Simpson was there to make his second ever appearance on the show, too.
For the first performance of the evening, Will Ferrell announced only Chris Stapleton. But as the camera panned over during the intro of “Midnight Train To Memphis,” it didn’t take long to cut to a shot of both Stapleton and Simpson side by side, splitting center.
This wasn’t just a cameo appearance. Simpson and Stapleton pretty much split the singing and playing duties right down the middle.
By the second performance of the night, the jig was up. Ferrell introduced both singers the second go around, when they performed Stapleton’s “Hard Livin’.”
Both tunes for the evening came from Stapleton’s most recent album, From A Room: Volume 2. And yes, for the keen-eyed, that is producer Dave Cobb up on stage playing with Stapleton.
Cobb joins Stapleton to play guitar periodically. It must be a particularly cool moment for him, too, since he also produced Sturgill Simpson’s High Top Mountain and Metamodern Sounds In Country Music.
It’s was a particularly special night for Stapleton, who was also in New York to celebrate Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Stapleton is nominated for Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song. He leads all country singers with three nominations.
But don’t feel too bad for Sturgill. He didn’t have any music eligible for this year’s awards. And besides, he already won Best Country Album last year with A Sailor’s Guide To Earth.
In other words, that was some serious firepower up on the SNL stage last night.