by John Gaddis
Chris Stapleton is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Born and raised in Kentucky, Stapleton moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he started a career as a songwriter, contributing to the repertoire of a number of artists. As a vocalist, Stapleton led two music groups before releasing three studio albums as a soloist. His music styles include country, Southern rock and bluegrass.
Stapleton served as the frontman of bluegrass group The SteelDrivers from 2008 to 2010. Thereafter, he released his debut studio album Traveller (2015), which reached number one on the US Billboard 200 and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His second studio album From A Room: Volume 1 was released in May 2017 and gave him his second win with the Country Music Association Award for Album of the Year and Grammy Award for Best Country Album. From A Room: Volume 2 was released in December 2017.
Volume 2, finds the artist in fine form. His positive lyricism shines on “Millionaire,” Stapleton’s voice is honest and pleasing, and most of all masculine, how could you not relate with his voice. “Scarecrow in the Garden,” which also features some of Stapleton’s best lyricism, portrays a West Virginian farm passed down from Irish immigrants through years of prosperity and troubled times. Portraying an American ethic that seems to be lost in today’s ever growing cold grip of technology no-morality era. Either way, Stapleton’s lyrics eloquently captivate the listener with a Dylan-esque finger-on-the-pulse societal compass.
“Midnight Train to Memphis,” which he formerly recorded with the Steeldrivers, highlights Stapleton’s bluesy, southern rock side, with a commanding voice and driving rhythms, this my friends is a barn burner. Whereas “Friendship,” gets back to that staple basic sound of good harmonies, great lyrics and down home sensibilities.
Stapleton is a breath of fresh air in the male vocal category, his gritty voice and witty lyrics hit the spot. His voice is malleable to whatever the song needs, whether a tender treatment or a full-throated wail, he has it all under control. Volume 2, has got the goods, where Volume 1 might have had a few shortcomings in the programming. Volume 2, ties it up for a great listen throughout.