Since the passing of Merle Haggard in April, numerous organizations have dedicated an award or paid tribute to the legendary singer/songwriter in some fashion. Most recently, the Academy of Country Music named Miranda Lambert the first-ever recipient of the Merle Haggard Spirit Award, an honor given to an uncompromising artist in the spirit of the late singer.
Fed up with the industry’s way of honoring Haggard and his legacy, Sturgill Simpson took to Facebook to share his thoughts. The singer/songwriter held nothing back in his lengthy post.
“Many years back, much like Willie and Waylon had years before, Merle Haggard said, ‘Fu** this town. I’m moving.’ and he left Nashville,” wrote Sturgill. “According to my sources, it was right after a record executive told him that ‘Kern River’ was a bad song. In the last chapter of his career and his life, Nashville wouldn’t call, play, or touch him. He felt forgotten and tossed aside. I always got a sense that he wanted one last hit..one last proper victory lap of his own, and we all know deserved it. Yet it never came. And now he’s gone.”
He continued, “I’m writing this because I want to go on record and say I find it utterly disgusting the way everybody on Music Row is coming up with any reason they can to hitch their wagon to his name while knowing full and damn well what he thought about them. If the ACM wants to actually celebrate the legacy and music of Merle Haggard, they should drop all the formulaic cannon fodder bullsh** they’ve been pumping down rural America’s throat for the last 30 years along with all the high school pageantry, meat parade award show bullsh** and start dedicating their programs to more actual Country Music.”
The singer went on to detail his thoughts on how the country music industry had abandoned Haggard as of late, chronicling a magazine shoot he had done with the legend and how it had gotten scrapped without their knowledge.
“Some days, this town and this industry have a way of making we wish I could just go sit on Mars and build glass clocks,” he concluded.
What do you think of Sturgill’s rant? See the full post HERE.