And now, it’s time for an all-time classic CMA Awards performance, one that didn’t even take place in the building.
The year is 2017, the setting is Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, but not inside the venue. No, while the awards show was happening inside, the great Sturgill Simpson was standing outside the arena, putting on a much more compelling performance. With his Grammy in his guitar case, Sturgill spent nearly an hour busking outside the ceremony, which he was not invited to. He performed “Turtles All the Way Down” and “Water in a Well,” answered some controversial fan questions, and gave fans a preview of what his acceptance speech would be if he ever won a CMA Award. It would’ve went a little something like this:
“Nobody needs a machine gun. Coming 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 to, and get married if they want to, without fearing getting drug down the road on a pickup truck. Black people are probably tired of getting shot in the streets, and getting enslaved by the industrial prison complex, and hegemony and racism is alive and well in Nashville, Tennessee. Thank you very much.”
He also revealed that he was proud of what guys like Cody Jinks, Whitey Morgan, and Tyler Childers were doing, hinted that he wanted to make a bluegrass record (which he did), discussed his friendship with Joe Rogan, revealed why he doesn’t play “King Turd” anymore, and offered his unapologetic thoughts on Donald Trump:
“He’s a fascist fucking pig, and I’m not afraid to say that because at this point, anybody that’s still supporting that guy can’t be anything in my mind other than an ignorant fucking bigot, so there it is… anybody that’s surprised to hear me say that, that’s gonna unfollow me or stop listening to my records, they probably weren’t listening that close anyway.”
And if he was ever invited to perform (he won’t be), he would play Merle Haggard’s “Are The Good Times Really Over For Good.”