Officials at the organisation announced on Monday (29Aug16) that Miranda Lambert will be the first-ever recipient of the Merle Haggard Spirit Award, which was created to honour the contributions of the late icon by acknowledging artists who exemplify his "uncompromising integrity" and "singular vision in carving an indelible path in country music."
But just before ACM bosses revealed Lambert as the inaugural recipient, Simpson took to Facebook to express his frustration with the accolade, and lashed out at academy members for exploiting the music idol.
"I'm writing this because I want to go on record and say I find it utterly disgusting the way everybody on (country music headquarters in Nashville) Music Row is coming up with any reason they can to hitch their wagon to his name while knowing full and damn well what he thought about them," Simpson wrote in his lengthy rant. "If the ACM wants to actually celebrate the legacy and music of Merle Haggard, they should drop all the formulaic cannon fodder bulls**t they've been pumping down rural America's throat for the last 30 years along with all the high school pageantry, meat parade award show bulls**t and start dedicating their programs to more actual Country Music."
Simpson's candid post hit headlines and he was criticised by fans for his polarising view before he returned to Facebook hours later to clarify his comments. He noted that he wrote the post before Lambert was named the recipient, adding he believes she feels the same way he does about the award.
"Before people start chasing clickbait by putting words in my mouth I feel the need to clarify that I was not aware of this at the time of my original post and my words were in no way directed at her," Simpson explained. "I know that Merle liked and respected her so it's good to see there is at least some blue sky in all of this. I don't know Miranda nor have I ever met her but something tells me that in her heart, she knows I'm dead on."
He went on to acknowledge that his words might not please every everyone, especially the head honchos responsible for country music business in Nashville, who have a tendency to leave out Simpson on the awards show ballots anyway.
"I fully realise that as I type this, meetings and conversations are taking place on Music Row to ensure I am blackballed from the industry and that's perfectly fine with me," Simpson admitted. "I'm not sure how you can blackball somebody you don't acknowledge in the first place anyway. Yet, even though they mostly go out of their way to ignore artists like myself and (musician) Jason Isbell, I assure you they are more than aware of our existence."
Simpson continued, "I should also go ahead and add here that whether or not I am nominated for a CMA award this year, I will not be attending the ceremony for no other reason than the fact I already have a sold out show scheduled in Des Moines, Iowa on the night of the awards ceremony and I have no plans to change that.
He concluded, "Mostly though, I just wish Merle was still alive. I'd love for them to all hear his thoughts on the matter. P.S. F**k this town. I'm moving."
ACM bosses have yet to respond to Simpson's posts, and Lambert is still slated to receive the prize at the ACM Honors ceremony on Tuesday (30Aug16).