With an open guitar case, a few politically-minded cardboard signs and a guitar, Simpson played music for about 35 minutes while answering questions from passersby and online commenters The signs were a protest of sorts: "I don't take requests, but I take questions about anything you want to talk about ... because fascism sucks", read one. When asked if he and his wife Trisha Yearwood could be considered the first couple of country, Garth Brooks gave all the credit to Trisha and said she makes any couple a great couple.
To an audience of thousands on Facebook Live, the star announced, "Finally made it, guys, big show", and joked, "They were all out of seats". That remark was another stab at the Country Music Association, which initially told reporters that they might be tossed from the show if they asked musicians about politics or gun control - the association lifted those rules after a cascade of criticism. The move was a bit of a follow up to previous year when Simpson critiqued the mainstream country industry and the awards show for their awarding of the Merle Haggard Spirit Award.
Though Simpson's latest album went No. 1 on the country Billboard charts, he's also considered Americana music and overlooked by mainstream Nashville - and his sound is far from what fits on commercial country radio. Simpson spun off a speech, in which he advocated for gay rights, slammed the industrial prison complex for targeting African-Americans, and declared "hegemony and fascism is alive and well in Nashville, Tennessee. Thank you very much".