No, it ain’t more Christmas music. But it’s damned good stuff just the same.
That there’s a great song by a great band called the Steeldrivers, the co-author and singer of which ditty is a great singer/songwriter named Chris Stapleton. There’s a local radio station here whose playlist is the work of a good friend of mine, and I first heard Stapleton’s solo stuff there—including this remake of another Steeldrivers song co-written by Stapleton:
Killer stuff, right? So today I dug around some for the story on Stapleton, and got myself…uhhh, an earful.
Christopher Alvin Stapleton (born April 15, 1978) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and grew up in Staffordsville, Kentucky, until moving to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2001 to pursue a career in music writing songs. Subsequently, Stapleton signed a contract with Sea Gayle Music to write and publish his music.
As of 2018 Stapleton has amassed credits writing and co-writing over 170 songs. He has co-written six number-one country songs including Kenny Chesney’s five-week number-one “Never Wanted Nothing More”, George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright”, and Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer”. His songs have appeared on many artists albums including Adele, Brad Paisley, and Dierks Bentley. He has co-written with several artists as well including Vince Gill, Peter Frampton, and Sheryl Crow. Stapleton has been recognized with several awardsincluding five Grammy Awards, seven Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, and ten Country Music Association (CMA) Awards.
As a vocalist, Stapleton sang lead in two bands before he started recording as a solo artist including a bluegrass ensemble from 2008 to 2010 called The SteelDrivers. After that, he released his solo debut: the critically acclaimed studio album titled Traveller (2015), which reached number one on the US Billboard 200 and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His second studio album From A Room: Volume 1 was released in May 2017, and earned him a second CMA Award for Album of the Year and also a Grammy Award for Best Country Album. From A Room: Volume 2 was released in December 2017.
Oh well. Plus-size Brit pop warblers notwithstanding, Stapleton is just another one of those extraordinary Nashville songwriters nobody outside Music City ever heard of until he broke out on his own as a performer. You can’t walk past Robert’s, the Bluebird, or the Second Fiddle without tripping over four or five of ’em; the place is a-boil with ’em, bless their achey-breaky hearts. All of which then brings us right ’round to this:
Might come as something of a surprise to y’all, but I DO love me some good ol’ bluegrass, and always have. Sometime, remind me to tell the story of one night my own band played in N-ville, can’t remember where. Back then, we usually wound up our set with a cover of yet another great song written by some guy you never heard of. When we were done that night, a friend of ours brought someone up and introduced him as the man who had written the song we had just done; a big, burly, thoroughly-bearded fellow he was, who thanked us for playing his song in a quiet, almost bashful voice. Me, I about fell over, reduced to bug-eyed babbling at the very idea of meeting such an awesome talent all off-hand and casual-like. Here’s our version of his song:
This one will no doubt be more familiar to the country fans among y’uns:
Nobody tops Possum, of course, and I ain’t about to make any such claim. But I don’t think we shamed ourselves any either.