Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson have publicly criticised the Country Music Association after it failed to recognise the late John Prine during this year’s awards ceremony in Nashville last night (November 12).
Taking to social media earlier today, Isbell said he and Amanda Shires have returned their lifetime membership cards to the CMA for not paying tribute to Prine, nor Jerry Jeff Walker or Billy Joe Shaver, both of whom passed away last month.
“I doubt anybody will care, but we cared a lot about our heroes,” Isbell wrote on Twitter.
Due to @CountryMusic’s failure to mention John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver at the CMA’s last night, @amandashires and I have decided to return our membership cards. I doubt anybody will care, but we cared a lot about our heroes. pic.twitter.com/UmplzD0Z7p
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) November 13, 2020
Sturgill Simpson also took the CMA to task on social media. On Instagram, the songwriter posted a video that showed the ceremony playing in the background.
“Two seconds. That’s all it would have took. Two seconds, literally two syllables. John Prine. That’s it. Nope,” an exasperated Simpson says in the video.
“All the time in the world for this shit,” he adds, pointing to the performance behind him.
Oh Boy Records, the label founded by Prine in 1981, commented that they were disappointed the ceremony failed to recognise the legendary artist.
“Country music was both the inspiration and foundation for his songwriting and performing,” read a statement from the label.
“While there may be a number of artists who have had more commercial success than John, they are very few who achieved more artistically.”
Prine passed away in Nashville from complications related to COVID-19 back in April, aged 73, prompting an outpouring of tributes from throughout the music world.
This year’s ceremony did pay tribute to a number of other icons who’ve passed this year, including Kenny Rogers, Charlie Daniels and Mac Davis.
The ceremony, which was billed by organisers as a “no drama zone”, has been criticised by multiple artists in recent weeks. Last week, Margo Price responded to its messaging on Twitter, and criticised its lack of diversity.
“Once again, the CMA’s are censoring/white washing their show but who’s surprised? Anyone still participating is a socially unconscious pawn,” Price wrote.
“Artists pander woke authenticity when it benefits them and then sit in silence as they collect their plastic trophies. Also the music sucks.”
once again, the CMA’s are censoring/white washing their show but who’s surprised? anyone still participating is a socially unconscious pawn. artists pander woke authenticity when it benefits them and then sit in silence as they collect their plastic trophies. also the music sucks pic.twitter.com/QB3sHwB9kP
— Margo Price (@MissMargoPrice) November 5, 2020