Music

Sturgill Simpson Clarifies ACM Criticisms, Says He’ll Be ‘Blackballed’

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One day after posting a message on Facebook blasting Nashville’s treatment of Merle Haggard, Sturgill Simpson offered some clarification of his stance. Simpson took aim at the Academy of Country Music for creating a Merle Haggard Spirit Award.

He believed the ACMs wanted to capitalize on Haggard’s name, but that all of country music failed the Hag when it came to supporting him later in his career.

Many took it as a dig at Miranda Lambert, who the ACM announced as the inaugural recipient of the award yesterday. But Simpson said his thoughts came before the announcement.

“Before people start chasing clickbait by putting words in my mouth I feel the need to clarify that I was not aware of this at the time of my original post and my words were in no way directed at her,” Simpson says. “I know that Merle liked and respected her so it’s good to see there is at least some blue sky in all of this.”

Since his post went viral, many people raised points about the origins of the ACMs and how they awarded Haggard over the years. But, Simpson says, that’s not the point. “My point was that all of these organizations don’t walk it like they talk it,” Simpson says.

Need proof? Just look at the music the shows promote and award on air.

Simpson also believes organizations around town may “blackball” him for his comments. He says artists like him and Jason Isbell ultimately don’t need the organizations, though. “Our last albums went to No. 1 without any help from the mainstream country music establishment,” Simpson says. “And our next albums will too.”

Jason Isbell took to Twitter after a fan alerted him Simpson included his name.

After reading his comments, Isbell came back with this classic tweet.

And yet, Simpson won’t attend the CMAs. Even if he’s a nominee. Why? He’s already got a sold-out show in Iowa on the books.

Simpson says he mostly just wishes Merle was still around to share his thoughts. He then references Haggard’s old sentiment from his first post. “[Expletive] this town. I’m moving.”

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Sturgill Simpson Clarifies ACM Criticisms, Says He’ll Be ‘Blackballed’