Sturgill Simpson seized his opportunity to introduce himself to the nation on “Saturday Night Live,” and the online response has been huge.
“Watch Sturgill Simpson Deliver an ‘SNL’ Performance for the Ages,” the Nashville Scene declared.
Saving Country Music’s headline was, “Sturgill Simpson absolutely destroys the ‘Saturday Night Live’ stage.”
And NPR Music’s Otis Hart wrote, “Sturgill Simpson’s appearance on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live this weekend was his chance to show a national television audience why he’s up for a Grammy Award against Adele, Beyoncé, Drake and Justin Bieber — and the man did not blow it.”
Said Grammy nomination is album of the year for “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,” which no doubt helped Simpson get the coveted “SNL” slot. But while we know Simpson very well here, in his home area, his nomination caused some head-scratching, even in forums such as the music talk station SiriusXM Volume, where you would think the hosts would know their music. Simpson joked about the situation, telling the Associated Press, “The fact that there are a million people around the world Googling my name and trying to figure out who the hell I am right now is just enough for me.”
Simpson had to wait a bit later than most artists — well past the midnight hour — to take the stage with “Keep it Between the Lines,” a solid rendition of one of the many pieces of advice to his son on “Sailor’s Guide.” But it was the second performance of the night, the guitar-smashing, keyboard-flipping “Call to Arms,” near 1 a.m., that lit up social media feeds with declarations of Simpson’s awesomeness.
“You may not be a fan of Sturgill Simpson’s Delbert McClinton-style, roadhouse country-soul,” Chris White wrote in taste-making Paste magazine, “but if you aren’t a fan after his second performance of the evening— ‘Call To Arms’ —you simply hate music.”