This Week’s News

Sturgill Simpson made news Monday when he took to Facebook to voice his  opinions on the Academy of Country Music’s new award meant to honor the legacy of the late Merle Haggard, who died April 6.

Spoiler alert: Simpson thought the award was meaningless posturing in order to ride on the coattails of a legend mere months after his death.

You can read what he wrote here in full, but the latest development involves none other than Americana artist Jason Isbell.

A-list: Jason Isbell performs at ACL Live on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. Suzanne Cordeiro For American-Statesman

“Yet, even though [Music Row] mostly go[es] out of [its] way to ignore artists like myself and Jason Isbell, I assure you they are more than aware of our existence. They are also well aware that we don’t need them,” Simpson wrote in a Monday night update to his Facebook post.

Indeed, both his and Isbell’s last records have sold more than 200,000 copies combined with almost no radio support, and both were at No. 1 on the charts shortly after their release.

Isbell was alerted to the commentary on Twitter, and at first backed up whatever Simpson had to say, sight unseen.

I don't know what he said but I agree 100%

— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) August 30, 2016

When he read the remarks, he doubled down:

Ok now I know what Sturgill said and I still agree

— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) August 30, 2016

Another part of Sturgill’s dispute involved “Garden & Gun Magazine”‘s decision to put Chris Stapleton on the cover in March instead of Merle Haggard, who was in the hospital at the time.

Stapleton cleared the issue up back in April in an interview with The Band Perry, and Simpson corroborates his story in his Facebook post.

According to Saving Country Music, Stapleton tells the story like this:

“‘You were just on the cover of Garden and Gun which is hands down my favorite magazine. So beautiful,’ Kimberly Perry says in the interview.

‘What was that like? I’m a photographer too and I love that side of things. So how was it shooting for the cover of that magazine?’ Neil Perry asks.

Chris Stapleton responds,

‘That’s a weird story. I’m not sure if I should tell it or not because their magazine’s supposed to be about manners and they don’t have any. They were literally supposed to put Merle Haggard and Sturgill Simpson on the cover, and they did a 30 minute interview with me and Will Smith for what was supposed to be the inside thing. And then they bought a photo off a guy that did a GQ shoot and put it on the cover. And I never knew anything about it. I never was told about it. And Merle was in the hospital when they did that. It wasn’t cool.'”

Stapleton is reportedly being heavily considered for nomination for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Single of the Year for “Nobody to Blame” at this year’s CMAs, and Simpson is also being considered for nomination for Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and New Artist of the Year.

Simpson has already stated he won’t be attending the ceremony because of an already scheduled, sold-out show in Des Moines.

This Week’s Best New Song


From her upcoming album “Country Songs,” the eponymous single from Karen Jonas is a reminder that some of the best country songs are about sad life events. Here’s hoping that this single is the one that breaks her through to a wider audience.

This Week’s Worst New Song


He’s been called the Justin Bieber of country music, because of his start as a YouTube star. But at least Justin Bieber has “Sorry.” And doesn’t label himself as “country.”

This Week’s Best Country Show in Austin

If you don’t have tickets to tonight’s Austin City Limits Live taping with Hayes Carll, then your next best bet is to head to the Nutty Brown Cafe  this Friday night to see a double-billing of Stoney LaRue and Cory Morrow.

This is the Country Music Roundup, a weekly blog where we’ll give you the latest news in country music releases and local country shows. For a more in-depth analysis of the genre and where it’s headed, check back with our weekly Gone Country blog every week.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or by email: