Watch Sturgill Simpson's Fiery 'SNL' Debut - Rolling Stone
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Watch Sturgill Simpson’s Fiery ‘SNL’ Debut

Country singer performs explosive renditions of “Keep It Between the Lines” and “Call to Arms”

Sturgill Simpson rang in Saturday Night Live‘s first episode of 2017 with high-energy, stage-shaking performances of “Keep It Between the Lines” and “Call to Arms,” two tracks off the country singer’s Album of the Year Grammy-nominated LP A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.

Simpson, making his SNL debut on the heels of his surprise Grammy nomination, first delivered a scorching take on his brassy soul track “Keep It Between the Lines,” backed by a powerful seven-member horn section.

For the latter performance, Sailor’s Guide‘s explosive closer “Call to Arms,” Simpson and his expert backing band transformed Studio 8H into a crazed rave-up, with the singer dancing around the stage as the music intensified around him. Although just five minutes long, Simpson gave each member of his band a solo to bask in the SNL spotlight.

Simpson has made it a habit of using TV performances as a platform to enrich the Sailor’s Guide material, following similarly awe-inspiring visits to the Artists Den and Late Night With Seth Meyers.

Simpson had planned on taking some time off following the conclusion of the tour in support of Sailor’s Guide – one of Rolling Stone‘s 50 Best Albums of 2016 – but his unlikely Grammy nominations likely ended any chance of a vacation.

“I was so certain that when the tour wrapped up, we were done,” Simpson said in December. “But it might be a good idea to go play some shows again, I don’t know, given how many millions of people are saying, ‘Who the fuck is Sturgill Simpson?’ as of this morning.”


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