Posted: 12:22 am Monday, November 13th, 2017
By Jake Stewart
If you tuned into ABC on the night of ‘The 51st Annual CMA Awards,” then you probably caught glimpses of some of the biggest stars in country music. Nearly everybody was there, from Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire to Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini.
But there was one person who didn’t make it onto television for the show this year, or any year – Grammy winner Sturgill Simpson. That’s because he was busking as a stunt out in front of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, where the awards show takes place every year. He also wasn’t invited to the ceremony, although he’s likely just fine with that.
“Finally made it guys. Big show. They’re all out of seats. I couldn’t get a ticket, so I thought I’d come out here and play country music since we’re celebrating it in Nashville, Tennessee,” Sturgill, who has been known to criticize the country music establishment, said in a nearly hourlong Facebook Live video.
This time yesterday, I was sitting next to a Grammy inside Sturgill Simpson’s guitar case, on the sidewalk outside of Bridgestone Arena. #badass #flatalfie #alfiemusichound #sturgillsimpson #cmas2017 #countrymusic #americana #therealdeal #whothefuckissturgillsimpson
A post shared by Alfie the Americana Hound (@alfiemusichound) on
For his display, which mostly consisted of him taking questions from passersby and fans watching online, Sturgill had two signs propped up against his guitar case.
One sign read, “I don’t take requests, but I take questions about anything you want to talk about … because fascism sucks.” The other read, “Struggling country singer … Anything helps. (All donations go to the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union]). God bless America.”
The first poster seemed to take aim at the recent news surrounding the CMA press regulations, in which reporters were initially asked to avoid asking artists questions at the show about gun control, politics or the recent Las Vegas massacre. The CMA did, however, apologize and lift the regulations a few days prior to the show.
Even though Sturgill wasn’t nominated for a CMA Award this year (or ever), he shouldered the blame for that.
“I think that’s my fault. I think you have to submit to be nominated, and I’m not sure that we ever submitted or if anybody submitted for me,” he said, adding that he hoped Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton and Miranda Lambert would walk away with awards. “I’m not going to say that I was snubbed, because I don’t know that that’s actually true.”
Despite not having a chance in any CMA Awards category, Sturgill still took a minute to give an impromptu, hypothetical version of an acceptance speech.