Kentuckian Sturgill Simpson became a Grammy Award winner Sunday afternoon when his Spring 2016 release, “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” won the award for best country album.
Simpson, casually dressed, accepted the honor saying the album had been inspired by his being on the road for most of the first year of his son’s life, and he dedicated the award to his family. He pointed out that six years ago, he was not working in music and thanked his wife Sarah for encouraging him to get back into writing and performing.
Simpson was born in Jackson, raised in Versailles, and not too long ago, he was playing in and around Lexington with his band Sunday Valley and as a solo artist.
Seemingly alluding to the fact the country album award was given outside of the televised ceremony at 8 p.m. on CBS, Simpson said, “The revolution will not be televised.” The afternoon ceremony, where the majority of awards were presented, was streamed at Grammy.com.
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Many critics and fans have seen Simpson’s music as antidote to current mainstream country music.
Simpson brought his brand of country to the Grammys’ prime time stage with a performance of “All Around You” from “Sailor’s Guide,” introduced by fellow Kentuckian Dwight Yoakam and backed by the Dap Kings’ horns. The only complaint Simpson could have had was having to immediately follow the scorching collaboration of Metallica and Lady Gaga.
Simpson was in the running for the night’s top honor, album of the year — “Sailor’s Guide” was nominated, facing off against Adele, Beyonce, Justin Bieber and Drake. Adele’s “25” was the ultimate winner, and in her speech, the singer, who also won record of the year and song of the year for “Hello,” gave an extended tribute Beyonce and her nominated album, “Lemonade.”
In winning the country album award, Simpson bested fellow Kentuckian and country music legend Loretta Lynn, a nominee for “Full Circle.”
It is the second year in a row a Kentuckian has won best country album. Johnson County’s Chris Stapleton won the award last year for his “Traveller,” which was also an album of the year nominee. Taylor Swift’s “1989” won that category last year.
It was also a good afternoon for Bowling Green’s Cage the Elephant, which won best rock album for “Tell Me I’m Pretty.”
Owensboro’s Kevin Olusola was also party to a win as part of the vocal group Pentatonix. The group won best country duo/group performance for a collaboration with Dolly Parton on her classic, “Jolene.”