Not much in contemporary music rivals standing under a roof with Chris Stapleton and his band as they raise it in honor of American music. Stapleton ascended to stardom after sweeping the 2016 CMA Awards for his powerful debut album Traveller, but by then the 38-year-old Kentuckian Nashville mainstay had spent a young lifetime in the slipstreams of Southern sound, and already understood how commitment, craft and love can make listeners' preconceptions about what's cool or current fall away. A polymath in a leather cowboy hat, Stapleton blends country's warmth, rock's rafter-shaking, and Southern soul's passion into highly personal songs that are also instantly relatable. And his voice touches heaven, even when he's just singing about sitting at the bar.
Over the past year, as he built a reputation as one of the most dynamic live artists on the road today, Stapleton would often get together on off nights with his band, producer Dave Cobb, and his wife and crucial collaborator Morgane at RCA Studio A in Nashville. They'd relax, toss ideas around, and find their way into new material. The resulting album – one of two Stapleton will release this year – eradicates any thought of putting this unassuming risk-taker into a format-shaped box. At times, it's pure country, as on this track, the philosophical take on Southern gospel "Broken Halos." On other tracks, the band dives into deep blue streams or follows history into the back-road joints where rock and roll has become a lifeline for so many. Through it all, Stapleton serves as guide and convivial host, channeling stories that he's known since childhood, which he claims without an ounce of arrogance. It's magnificent music by regular people with extraordinary gifts.
From A Room: Volume 1 comes out May 5 on Mercury Records Nashville.
Chris Stapleton, From A Room: Volume 1 Tracklist
- "Broken Halos"
- "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning"
- "Second One To Know"
- "Up To No Good Livin'"
- "Either Way"
- "I Was Wrong"
- "Without Your Love"
- "Them Stems"
- "Death Row"