TV

Kentucky musician Sturgill Simpson to give acting a try in new CBS streaming series

Sturgill Simpson, shown playing at the 2017 Forecastle Festival in Louisville, will have a recurring role on a new CBS streaming series.
Sturgill Simpson, shown playing at the 2017 Forecastle Festival in Louisville, will have a recurring role on a new CBS streaming series. rcopley@herald-leader.com

Kentucky-grown country musician Sturgill Simpson is going to give acting a try.

Simpson, who was born in Jackson and raised in Versailles, will have a recurring role on “$1,” a mystery series that will air on CBS All Access, the network’s digital subscription streaming service which is also home to shows such as “Star Trek Discovery” and “The Good Wife” spinoff “The Good Fight.”

The show is set “in a small rust belt town in in post-recession America, where a one-dollar bill changing hands connects a group of characters involved in a shocking multiple murder,” CBS said in an announcement of the show. “The path of the dollar bill and point of view in each episode paint a picture of a modern American town with deep class and cultural divides that spill out into the open as the town's secrets get revealed.”

Simpson will play Ken Fry, who “makes his living holding a never-ending yard sale with items stolen from people’s front yards and porches.”

CBS announced the casting decisions Tuesday. Simpson joins veteran actors including John Carroll Lynch of “Fargo,” “American Horror Story” and “The Walking Dead”; Leslie Odom Jr. of “Hamilton”; and Jeff Perry of “Scandal” and “Nash Bridges,” among others.

Production is scheduled to start later this month in Pittsburgh.

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Musical guest Chris Stapleton performed “Hard Livin’” with Sturgill Simpson on “Saturday Night Live” in January. Both are on the lineup for Farm Aid, Sept. 22. Will Heath NBC

Simpson’s self-produced album “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” earned him the Grammy Award for best country album in 2017, and he appeared on “Saturday Night Live” alongside Chris Stapleton in late January.

Simpson’s touring calendar is fairly full including Radio City Music Hall in New York along with John Prine next month, the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. in June, and Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic.

Simpson is known for bucking the country music establishment. He hung out outside the CMA Awards in Nashville in November, giving a street performance that was shared on Facebook Live. After Merle Haggard’s death, he rebuked the industry, accusing Nashville of slighting him during his lifetime, then celebrating him with an award in his name after he was gone.

Kentucky country stars moonlighting as actors is not unprecedented. Pikeville native Dwight Yoakam and Flatwoods’ own Billy Ray Cyrus have both forged careers in film and television.

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