Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson, arguably the two biggest current singer-songwriters from Kentucky, teamed up for an electrifying performance on last night’s airing of Saturday Night Live.
Stapleton, scheduled to perform on the show ahead of Sunday evenings Grammy’s, teased shortly before the show that there’d be some “extra Kentucky in NYC.”
Stapleton has won best country solo performance for “Either Way” along with best song for “Broken Halos” and best country album with “From a Room: Volume 1.” Stapleton took home best country album and album of the year in 2016 for “Traveller,” his solo debut since departing from The Steeldrivers. “Traveller” continues to be one of the top-selling country albums nearly three years after its release, coming in second to “From a Room: Volume 1.”
Additionally, Simpson’s “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” won best country album in 2017 and was nominated for album of the year, falling short to winner Adele.
The star-studded Kentucky duo opened their SNL performance with “Midnight Train to Memphis,” a song Stapleton originally wrote with The Steeldrivers. The song began with a single spotlight falling on Stapleton before illuminating Simpson, stage right, as he fired up a steamy lick on his guitar. Simpson later took over vocals during the song’s second verse.
A performance of “Hard Livin’,” followed later in the show. Both “Hard Livin'” and “Midnight Train to Memphis” appear on Stapleton’s latest effort “From a Room: Volume 2,” which released on Dec. 1. If Stapleton’s track record holds, Kentucky and country music fans will likely be celebrating another round of Stapleton Grammy awards in 2019.
While Stapleton has been embraced by Nashville and music row Simpson has not, despite his Grammy victory. Simpson hasn’t been shy with his disdain for the country music establishment either, most recently sitting outside of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena during the 2017 Grammy awards, doing everything from busking to mingling with fans, all over Facebook LIVE and all with his Grammy award nestled inside his guitar case.
Here’s to hoping we see more Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson collaborations in the future.