Miranda Lambert accepted the Academy of Country Music’s Merle Haggard Spirit Award Wednesday and the night went off without a hitch.
According to Rolling Stone, Lambert called Haggard “one of my heroes,” and “the reason I write songs, he changed my life so much.” The country star sang a cover of Haggard’s “Misery and Gin” prior to giving her acceptance speech. The ACM created the award last week in the wake of Haggard’s death in April to honor “the uncompromising integrity and steadfastness of spirit embodied by the late Merle Haggard.”
The potential for controversy arose when Sturgill Simpson sounded off on Facebook against the award’s existence. “If the ACM wants to actually celebrate the legacy and music of Merle Haggard, they should drop all the formulaic cannon fodder bulls‑‑‑ they’ve been pumping down rural America’s throat for the last 30 years along,” Simpson wrote.
Simpson later updated saying he meant no disrespect to Lambert clarifying he was disgruntled with “everybody on Music Row.” Lambert made no reference to Simpson’s remarks in her speech.