Sturgill Simpson – the revolution has begun

Did you notice a category that was surprisingly missing from the recent GRAMMYs?

Each year, Nashville gets its chance to shine at the GRAMMYs with several country-specific awards, including the sought-after “Best Country Album.”

Typically, this award would be presented during the televised portion of the GRAMMYs, but this year, for some strange reason, it was presented during the internet pre-show. And social media had mixed reactions when the winner was, country outsider, Sturgill Simpson.

Although I believe the award was left off of the televised portion because Simpson is an outsider, the beauty of the situation is that it doesn’t matter. Simpson even joked about it himself during his acceptance speech by saying, “I guess the revolution will not be televised.”

Simpson has made his displeasure with the country music industry very clear, most notably when he called them out over an award named after, the late, Merle Haggard, a friend of Simpson’s.

Since then, Nashville has chosen to ignore Simpson, though they’ve looked somewhat foolish for doing so. Simpson’s latest album, “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth,” went to number one on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.

I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall when the industry saw that Simpson was not only nominated for “Best Country Album,” but he was also the only country artist to be nominated for “Album of the Year.”

Simpson wouldn’t have a chance of even being nominated for an Academy of Country Music or Country Music Association award, both of which are controlled by people in the industry. So, of course, the more commercially-viable artists that the industry promotes will always win those awards, but Nashville doesn’t have enough power to sway a GRAMMY vote.

What I don’t know is how much power they would have to keep an award from airing on the televised portion of the show. It could be purely a coincidence, but for an award to be cut out of the main show the year that an outsider wins it sounds like a pretty big coincidence to me.

The industry seems to put a lot of stock into these awards, so I’ll be interested to see how they handle the media coverage of an outsider defeating them. Will industry magazines begin running stories about Simpson? Will country radio start playing Simpson’s music? I don’t think it’s out of the question.

The country music industry will be forced to acknowledge Simpson now. Everybody’s heard the name, seen the face and heard the music. Even if they continue trying to ignore him, it’s too late. The world has now been made aware of the revolution, and it’s happening, whether the industry likes it or not.

For more information about Sturgill Simpson, visit www.sturgillsimpson.com.