Sturgill Simpson gave a soulful, impassioned rendition of his song “All Around You” at the 59th annual Grammy Awards.
Dwight Yoakam introduced Simpson’s segment, noting the music and life of late soul singer Sharon Jones, whose band the Dap-Kings joined Simpson and his own group for the tune from his 2016 album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. The ambitious concept record took the prize for Best Country Album during the Grammy Premiere pre-telecast ceremony. Against a backdrop of a spinning compass and navigational guides, Simpson stood well out front of a sizable ensemble of brass and string players to deliver a standout performance of “All Around You,” a song about embracing hope and love.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is also nominated for the night’s top prize, Album of the Year. Initially, Simpson wasn’t even sure he’d be able to attend the ceremony in Los Angeles.
“I can tell you that my wife and I have our second child on the way, due any time in the first two weeks of February,” he told the New York Times after learning about his nominations. “So this is all a little hairy. I would love to be there, but I’m not going to miss a birth for it.”
Simpson wrapped an extensive tour behind A Sailor’s Guide to Earth in late 2016, but saw renewed interest in the album and his music after the Grammy nominations and an intense Saturday Night Live performance in January. Simpson gets a quick breather following the Grammys, but will return to the road on a newly announced series of U.S. tour dates extending through September.