Sturgill Simpson Clarifies His Comments About Luke Bryan in Recent Profile
After some media outlets picked up Sturgill Simpson's quotes about Luke Bryan from a recent New York Times Magazine piece, Simpson is speaking out to provide more context around his words. On Sunday (Dec. 10), the singer tweeted out a longer explanation.
On Wednesday (Dec. 6), ahead of the release of his new album, What Makes You Country, the New York Times Magazine published a lengthy profile of Bryan. In the story, the country star and the story's writer discuss the divide in country music between mainstream artists such as Bryan and those in the Americana sphere, such as Simpson. When asked about Simpson's critical acclaim (including his 2017 Grammy Awards win for Best Country Album), Bryan says he's "utterly amazed" by Simpson.
Because of that conversation, the writer of the Times Magazine story emailed Simpson for a quote: "I asked Simpson to comment for this article," the writer explains, "and he responded quickly by email: 'I don’t know Luke, I don’t think about Luke, and I’ve honestly never heard a single note of his music.'"
Following the profile's publication, some outlets ran stories calling Simpson's words a dis of Bryan. Simpson, in reply, shared via Twitter his full email conversation with the original story's writer; the original email asks Simpson for a quote about the differences between "'real' country or Americana vs. 'bro-country' or pop-country ... or about what he thinks of Luke Bryan or him being modern country's biggest star."
"I don't know Luke, I don't think about Luke, and I've honestly never heard a single note of his music, so I'm afraid I am unable to supply you with quotes you and your editor are seeking from me to fill out your narrative," Simpson's email begins. "I can say, however, a more interesting piece would perhaps be how the Grammy winner for this years [sic] Country Album of the Year somehow doesn't manage to get recognized / nominate[d] (much less invited) by either the CMA or the ACM to their respective award celebrations. When you wanna talk about that I'll give you all the time you need."
Simpson's tweet that includes his email chain with the writer of the Bryan story also includes a quote: “Most of the time the conversation is me providing two or three sentences to fill in the blanks on a piece they've already written ... because when you say things in print it's so easy for context to get twisted.” The words are Simpson's own, from a recent interview, published by Noisey, in which Simpson discusses his rise to fame, some of the mistakes he's made along the way and what might be coming next. In the interview, he talks at length about being misquoted and misinterpreted.
"You just end up being clickbait or filling in gaps in narratives that I just don't have any need to be a part of because it doesn't have anything to do with what I’m trying to accomplish," Simpson says. "I've been painted as this angry guy just because when you say things in print it's so easy for context to get twisted ... I have a dry sardonic wit and it doesn't really come through. I've learned that if I'm going to do interviews it should probably be on video so people can see what I was actually saying."
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