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.
This was nothing like Simpson's performance at our Tiny Desk. The country singer turned Blues Brother, whose latest album A Sailor's Guide To Earth was nominated for Album Of The Year last month, brought an 11-piece band to the small stage at 30 Rockefeller Center and basically tore the place to shreds.
Simpson used the first song, "Keep It Between The Lines," to highlight individual members of the band, with trombonist Jon Ramm and saxophonist Brad Walker getting a chance to solo for millions of late-night viewers.
But it was on "Call To Arms," the finale to Guide To Earth, that Simpson really left his mark. The band stretched out a blues riff over the final two and a half minutes, with keyboardist Bobby Emmett threatening to ride his organ like a surfboard. When Simpson threw down his electric guitar on the night's final note, he had a look in his eye that suggested he'd accomplished what he came for.