A couple weeks ago Chris Stapleton was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and this was news I was excited about. I like Chris Stapleton a lot and I generally only like country music a little. Plus musical guests on this season of Saturday Night Live have been almost as much of a series of headscratchers as the show’s choices of sketches (i.e. this season has been bad.) I was all in Stapleton performing.
Well then Stapleton did perform and when he did, his band featured Sturgill Simpson. I like Simpson a lot as well. This was an exciting development, a pleasant surprise in a world where surprises themselves are surprises because we effin’ know everything these days so in actuality, flippin’ nothing is actually a surprise anymore. Look at this year’s Winter Olympics. Nothing that happens there will be surprising by the time you see it happen unless you participate in some kind of hardcore social media black out. It’s just a fact man. Stupid time zones.
Anyway, Simpson tagged along for both of the songs Stapleton performed, “Hard Livin'” and “Midnight Train to Memphis,” both from Stapleton’s album From a Room, Vol. 2. They traded vocals, they traded guitar solos, they probably traded a shot or two before hand. They looked like two buddies jamming out at the bar down the street. For a person like myself, not all that loyal to country music, I felt this was kind of a big deal. For country music heads, it was a big deal. Stapleton and Simpson are two of the biggest names in the genre today and here they were, sharing the stage up in New York City. Going in, you could be forgiven for thinking that if Stapleton was going to bring any of his famous friends along, it’d be Justin Timberlake. Timberlake was a little busy though. But either way, Simpson was an inspired choice.
And it was a choice that got my gears grinding. I immediately started wishing for some kind of tour by the two of them, a tour that would ideally come within an hour or so of me and fell on a friendly date so the Wife and I could go. I did some Internetting. They are touring, just not together.
Okay, so no tour. Not right now at least.
But maybe we could get a joint album? That’d be pretty sweet. Can we make this happen? Who do I have to talk to? 10 songs, some back and forth, some harmonies, a few Telecaster duels. It’d be a down right delightful one-two punch of Stapleton’s road house country and Simpson’s cocktail of southern soul and twangy blues. Rappers do it all the time- joint albums. Why can’t two country dudes do it?
In the meantime, here’s a Sturgill meets Stapleton playlist. It’ll just have to do for now.