Sturgill Simpson Strips Down Band for New Tour

Grammy-winning country artist jettisons horn section and bids farewell to longtime lead guitarist in favor of a lean four-piece

Sturgill Simpson has stripped down his band for his current tour.
Sturgill Simpson Strips Down Band for New Tour

Sturgill Simpson has made key changes to his band, debuting a stripped-down, lean lineup at a performance in Florida this past weekend. Simpson addressed the transformation, which bids farewell to his touring horn section and, most noticeably, longtime lead guitarist Laur Joamets, on Facebook.

"We've been trying to keep it under wraps to avoid the inevitable rumor mill, but last night's gig in Okeechobee FL officially marks the beginning of a new chapter," Simpson wrote. "We're all very sad to say that after nearly four years Laur Joamets has decided it's time to move on to pursue greener pastures and a gig with little more wiggle room for him to stretch out. It's been a pleasure and an honor watching him grow into one of the baddest guitar players on the planet and everyone in the band wishes him the best in his future endeavors."

With Joamets' departure, Simpson himself will play lead guitar, as he did in his pre-solo career band Sunday Valley. Drummer Miles Miller, bassist Chuck Bartels and keyboardist Bobby Emmett round out the current lineup.

"I realized last night how much I've missed playing electric guitar without even knowing it, so I guess as they say, 'It was time,'" Simpson wrote, adding he also thought it time to "move on from the sonic template" of his Grammy-winning album A Sailor's Guide to Earth and "get started on 'what's next.'"

Right now, Simpson isn't set to return to the road until May, when he'll kick off a summer tour that hits theaters and festivals, including the Forecastle Festival in his native Kentucky.