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Country - Released May 20, 2016 | Mercury (Universal France)

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At a time when many contemporary country artists were seemingly trying to be anything but — layering on pop, rap or reggae — Chris Stapleton comfortably settled into the past. Straight from the title-track opener, the Kentucky singer-songwriter sounds like the lost member of the outlaw movement of the ’70s: earthy, road-weary and, as he sings, "nowhere-bound." (He also nods directly at his roots on the swampy “Outlaw State of Mind.”) Despite the tough-guy name, those men were romantics, and Stapleton's tender-hearted side shows up in the form of regret and resignation, as on the Southern-rock spitfire "Nobody to Blame" and barroom waltz "Fire Away.” The latter, like much of the record, is richly imbued with the haunted-angel backing vocals of Morgane Stapleton, the singer's wife. If there's another special guest here, it's whiskey — both his devil and salve — which appears in five of the album's 14 songs, including the barfly swoon “Tennessee Whiskey,” first made famous by George Jones. As Stapleton rasps in the breathtakingly spare "Whiskey and You," "I drink because I'm lonesome and I'm lonesome because I drink." It's the perfect album for Saturday night and Sunday morning. © Qobuz
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Country - Released May 4, 2015 | Mercury Nashville

Distinctions Grammy Awards
At a time when many contemporary country artists were seemingly trying to be anything but — layering on pop, rap or reggae — Chris Stapleton comfortably settled into the past. Straight from the title-track opener, the Kentucky singer-songwriter sounds like the lost member of the outlaw movement of the ’70s: earthy, road-weary and, as he sings, "nowhere-bound." (He also nods directly at his roots on the swampy “Outlaw State of Mind.”) Despite the tough-guy name, those men were romantics, and Stapleton's tender-hearted side shows up in the form of regret and resignation, as on the Southern-rock spitfire "Nobody to Blame" and barroom waltz "Fire Away.” The latter, like much of the record, is richly imbued with the haunted-angel backing vocals of Morgane Stapleton, the singer's wife. If there's another special guest here, it's whiskey — both his devil and salve — which appears in five of the album's 14 songs, including the barfly swoon “Tennessee Whiskey,” first made famous by George Jones. As Stapleton rasps in the breathtakingly spare "Whiskey and You," "I drink because I'm lonesome and I'm lonesome because I drink." It's the perfect album for Saturday night and Sunday morning. © Qobuz
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Country - Released November 13, 2020 | Mercury Nashville

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Hailed for songwriting skill and an unironic embrace of outlaw country, Chris Stapleton, on his fourth album, puts his vocal versatility on impressive display. Supported by a moody, shadowy string section, he unfurls a torch-singer side on "Cold," a heartbreaker that lives up to its name in feel and lyrics—"Why you got to be so cold/ Why you got to go and cut me like a knife/ Put our love on ice." The lowdown-and-dirty guitar of "Whiskey Sunrise" is matched for power by a wailing blues delivery from Stapleton. And he cuts loose with a Southern-rock howl on the Tom Petty-esque swamp stomp "Devil Always Made Me Think Twice." An early Petty influence is alive and present across Starting Over, with Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench guesting on guitar and Hammond B3, respectively. Stapleton co-wrote the simmer-to-fury "Watch You Burn" with Campbell, and the guitarist's signature style is front-and-center on "Arkansas," a heavy Southern-rock blues burner celebrating the underrated beauty of the Ozarks. The ghost of Guy Clark also blesses the sessions, as Stapleton covers a back-to-back shot of the songwriter's "Worry B Gone" and "Old Friends" and former with a velocity that makes Willie Nelson's gentle version sound cute. (A flow-like-the-creek cover of John Fogerty's "Joy of My Life" is more faithful.) As on previous releases, Stapleton's wife and collaborator Morgane Stapleton lends angelic vocal harmonies, sweetening the sobering, Kristofferson-sounding ballad "When I'm With You," which find her husband taking stock of middle age and where it goes from there: "I'm 40 years old/ And it looks like the end of the rainbow ain't no pot of gold." She also shows up on that song's spiritual flip side and the album's title track, an optimistic, stripped-down guitar jangle: "I can be your lucky penny/ You can be my four-leaf clover.” Indeed, for all his tough-guy appearance, there's always been a tender side to Stapleton, and he shows every bit of it on "Maggie's Song," an absolute tearjerker about a found dog's life and death that's teed up and ready for a pickup truck commercial. (Nothing wrong with that.) And lest anyone ever doubt his outlaw tendencies, Stapleton ends on an absolutely gorgeous kiss-off to the country capital: "So long Nashville, Tennessee/ You can't have what's left of me." © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Country - Released May 5, 2017 | Mercury Nashville

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Country - Released December 1, 2017 | Mercury Nashville

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His album Traveller was one of the best country discs of 2015. Over the years, Chris Stapleton has written for the the whole of Nashville (but not only Nashville!), signing hit after hit for Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Adele, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley, and co-writing with Vince Gill, Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow. The native of Kentucky no longer has much to prove in terms of his songwriting ability… However, getting behind the mic was a different matter: his first solo album which he has record at the age of 37 had to be up to scratch. And it was. Sure, between 2008 and 2010 Stapleton had been at the helm of the SteelDrivers, a decent bluegrass group, but this time it was time for him to write his own record - under his name and no one else's… Traveller proved that Chris Stapleton possessed a truly gifted voice. From the ballads to the considerably more up-tempo tracks, he suited his songs from head to toe, sometimes even adding a touch of southern soul… Two years down the line, the songwriter is back with a superb follow-up: a contemporary country work that preserves tradition while remaining firmly in the present. After a flawless first volume in May 2017 (From A Room: Volume 1), the second volume has been released this December (From A Room: Volume 2)! Recorded in the lair of the famous RCA Studio A in Nashville where Elvis, Waylon Jennings and other legends hung out last century, this record brings out a more rootsy side from its author. Stapleton still sings divinely well, bawling like a wounded wolf when necessary, playing the southern soul lover if needs be, and rolling out small touches of sticky blues. In short, the bearded-man from Lexington slaloms perfectly between the very personal and the more commercial, and at the end of his winding road he has arrived at a record that is every bit as good as volume 1. © MD/Qobuz
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Country - Released November 13, 2020 | Mercury Nashville

As an album title, Starting Over can't help but carry connotations of an artistic rebirth, but three or four albums into his solo stardom, Chris Stapleton is in no position to rip it up and start again. Stapleton found his footing with 2015's Traveller and he's spent the years since digging deeper into his burnished groove, tying the binds between classic country, classic rock, and classic soul even tighter. A new beginning isn't in the cards for a singer/songwriter who has styled himself as an old-fashioned troubadour, an outlaw with a heart of gold singing sweet love songs as often as he kicks up dust. He's a traveler on a long road, not quite forging into undiscovered country as much as finding fresh routes through familiar terrain. Working once again with producer Dave Cobb, Stapleton underscores rootsy continuity not just with his own catalog, but with his idols. He takes the time to salute the pioneers who came before him by covering two Guy Clark songs here ("Worry B Gone," "Old Friends"), along with a deep John Fogerty solo cut that pairs quite nicely with the swampy choogle of the original "Devil Always Made Me Think Twice." The biggest nod to the past arrives through a couple of key members of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers joining the fold: Benmont Tench is on eight of the album's 14 songs, while Mike Campbell co-wrote two of the record's highlights, the funky vamp "Watch You Burn" and the rampaging "Arkansas." The former Heartbreakers are excellent foils for Stapleton and they also emphasize that he's a bit like Petty in how he revives sounds of the past for the present and in how he turns out reliably sturdy albums. Stapleton could use a bit of Petty's flair -- there's not a lot of humor here, nor are there any flirtations with modern sounds -- but his straight-ahead style nevertheless satisfies on Starting Over. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2013 | Mercury Nashville

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Country - Released December 1, 2017 | Mercury Nashville

When Chris Stapleton released the first installment of From A Room in May of 2017, it seemed possible that the two records would add up to a grand statement, but From A Room: Volume 2 is essentially the mirror image of its predecessor. Both records clock in at a swift 32 minutes, lasting no more than nine songs -- brief even by the standards of '60s or '70s country, when it was common to release two or three records a year. Intentionally or not, Stapleton winds up evoking this era with the two volumes of From A Room, neither of which is dependent on the other but neither of which can be seen without its sibling. If Stapleton released just one simple album as the sequel to his career-making, award-winning Traveller, it would've seemed like he was hedging his bets, but by spinning out two sturdy collections of songs, he catapults himself into the status of a lifer. Truth be told, he was already angling at this narrative at the dawn of Traveller -- he had a career as a professional songwriter in Nashville, just waiting for the right time to make a splash as a recording artist -- but the fact that he churned out two strong, modest records within the space of a year speaks to his command of art. Stapleton doesn't bother to expand his purview; he decides to deepen his sound on From A Room: Volume 2, heightening familiar sounds. He cranks up up the guitars on "Midnight Train to Memphis," evokes the ghost of Waylon on "Hard Livin'," eases into the sunset on "Scarecrow in the Garden," and simmers soulfully on "Nobody's Lonely Tonight." It's a collection of moments, just like From A Room: Volume 1, but that's the charm of From A Room: Volume 2. Stapleton isn't crafting a major statement; he's knocking out a bunch of songs that work on their own terms -- and when the two records are combined, it's clear he's the lifer he intends to be. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released May 5, 2017 | Mercury Nashville

When his 2015 CMA wins for Album of the Year, New Artist of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year turned Chris Stapleton into an overnight sensation, it raised the expectations for the sequel to his debut Traveller considerably. Released two years to the day after Traveller, From A Room: Volume 1 surprises with its modesty. Yes, it's the first installment of a two-part album -- a move that, by definition, suggests some level of heightened ambition -- but From A Room: Volume 1 benefits from its lean 32-minute running time, its brevity shifting attention to the sturdiness of its nine songs. Stapleton revives his Traveller blueprint, adhering to the worn, leathery sound of '70s outlaw country, but his success has slowed his roll, allowing him to proceed with a quiet confidence. Most of the album does move at a leisurely pace, with the bruised ballad "Broken Halos" setting the tone for the rest of the record. A sly cover of "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning" -- a 1982 hit for Willie Nelson -- builds upon this contemplative mood and he returns to it frequently, whether it's on the skeletal "Either Way" or the simmering tension of the closing "Death Row." Stapleton expands upon this rumination by offering a couple of soulful heartbreak numbers -- "I Was Wrong" and "Without Your Love" -- an old-fashioned barroom lament ("Up to No Good Livin'"), and a pair of rowdy, funny blues-rockers ("Second One to Know," "These Stems") that give From A Room: Volume 1 dimension and color. As good as each of these songs is individually -- and there isn't a bad song in the bunch -- what's best about From A Room: Volume 1 is how it holds together. There's no grand concept here: it's just a collection of good tunes, delivered simply and soulfully, and that's more than enough. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Chris Stapleton in the magazine