Country artist Sturgill Simpson is nothing if not incredibly ballsy, which he’s been known to prove time and again via social media. The latest example came today when the singer unleashed an uncensored tirade on his Facebook page dedicated to Nashville’s Music Row and their treatment of his hero, the late Merle Haggard. Included on Simpson’s shitlist is Garden & Gun, whose headquarters are in downtown Charleston.
Simpson, who was recently filmed performing with Stephen Colbert at a West Ashley Waffle House, began the post by pointing out Nashville’s sudden interest in “hitching their wagons” to Haggard now that the legend is gone. With the post, Simpson included this link from musicrow.com announcing that the Academy of Country Music Awards has created an award to celebrate Haggard’s legacy.
After also establishing that Haggard had long felt forgotten by Nashville and the world of country music before, Simpson revealed how he really feels about Garden & Gun. “While I’m venting about the unjust treatment of a bonafide American music legend, I should also add, if for no other reasons than sheer principal and to get the taste I’ve been choking back for months now out of my mouth, that Merle was supposed to be on the cover of Garden & Gun magazine’s big Country Music issue (along with myself) a few months back.”
He goes on to describe the day spent with journalist Matt Hendrickson and compliment the work of photographer David McClister, who shot Simpson and Haggard for two hours until the latter had to quit. He was recovering from a recent bout of double pneumonia.
Simpson continues to critique Garden & Gun. “But then at the last minute, the magazine’s editor put Chris Stapleton on the cover without telling anyone until they had already gone to print. Don’t get me wrong, Chris had a great year and deserves a million magazine covers…but thats not the point.”
Simpson continues, “It’s about keeping your word and ethics. Chris also knows this as he called me personally to express his disgust at the situation. Dude’s a class act. The editor later claimed in a completely bullshit email apology to both Merle’s publicist and ours (Chris and I share the same publicist) that they didn’t get any good shots that day. David McClister. 2 hour shoot..no good photos..OK buddy,..whatever you say.”
Days after the magazine went to print with this truly special conversation between Haggard and Simpson, Haggard passed away due to complications from pneumonia — it was on April 6, his birthday.
Simpson concludes the post with this sentiment: “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.”
While we respect Simpson’s point, as a fellow media outlet, we have to also point out that, oftentimes, the same photo that may look incredible inside the publication may not work as a particularly dynamic cover shot. And sometimes, the best cover shot may determine the best cover story — it’s an issue that we understand and deal with weekly.
This is what Garden & Gun told us about the post: