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Sturgill Simpson honored by Kentucky Legislative officials

Sturgill Simpson stands as Kentucky lawmakers honors his achievements during the General Legislative Session on March 20, 2018. Photo by Christian Randolph.

On Monday, March 20, 2018, during the Kentucky Legislative General Session, Sturgill Simpson was honored with House Resolution 251.  The resolution was sponsored by Woodford County native, Representative James Kay, who also serves in part of Franklin and Fayette County.

Sturgill Simpson was present, alongside his family, during the reading of the resolution at the Kentucky State Capitol.  Below is the official resolution which passed unanimously among the Kentucky House of Representatives.

A RESOLUTION honoring Sturgill Simpson.

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has long celebrated a deep and enduring connection with country, bluegrass, and Americana music; and

WHEREAS, beginning with “hillbilly” music, which would later become known as bluegrass, Kentuckians have duly appreciated both the musical expression of Appalachian musicianship as well as the artists who have built their style around the old-time music that has come to define the bluegrass state; and

WHEREAS, from Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle to the master Bill Monroe, Kentucky has long been a place synonymous with true country music; and

WHEREAS, on this day this body honors the next in that line of artists, Kentucky’s own Sturgill Simpson; and

WHEREAS, John Sturgill Simpson was born in Breathitt County on June 8, 1978. A veteran of the United States Navy, he would return to the Commonwealth and form the bluegrass band Sunday Valley in 2004 before leaving music to work on a shipping yard for Union Pacific Railroad; and

WHEREAS, Sturgill Simpson returned to music after moving to Nashville in 2012, and his first solo album, the self-produced High Top Mountain, announced him as a fearless artist who was attempting to return country music to what had brought it into popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. Simpson’s second album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, further cemented him as an artist on the rise, and his breakout, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, peaked at number one on the country music chart; and

WHEREAS, Sturgill Simpson is often compared to Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, two legends whose stripped-down styles were reminiscent of an era when country music was not so layered and over-produced, and when songwriters were much more free to follow their artistic ambitions; and

WHEREAS, in this vein, Sturgill Simpson has also become a fierce critic of top 40 country music. In a now-famous 2016 social media post, he lamented that Nashville should stop producing the “formulaic cannon fodder…they’ve been pumping down rural America’s throat for the last years,” an opinion with which so many inside and outside 3 the music industry wholly agree; and

WHEREAS, it is appropriate that this body honor those artists in this Commonwealth who perform their craft at such a masterful level that they become examples for other aspiring musicians, and who speak such truths that they attract a generation of younger fans to country music while earning the admiration of those who have been diehard fans for decades; and

WHEREAS, in so doing, this body rightfully honors Sturgill Simpson, thanks him for his profound contributions to country music, and grants him best wishes as he continues an already extraordinary career;

NOW, THEREFORE, Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

Section 1. The members of the House of Representatives hereby honor Sturgill Simpson, and acknowledge him as an artist of the first order.

Section 2. When the House of Representatives adjourns this day, it does so in honor of and gratitude to Sturgill Simpson.

Section 3. The Clerk of the House of Representatives is directed to transmit a copy of this Resolution to Representative Rocky Adkins.

Kentucky singer Sturgill Simpson was in both chambers of the state legislature Tuesday in Frankfort. In the House, Rep. James Kay, D-Versailles, cited the country music star’s accomplishments. Video from Jack Brammer of Lexington Herald Leader.