Chris Stapleton’s latest album From A Room: Vol. 1 sits poised to take the #1 spot on the Billboard Country Albums chart next week, and is battling with Logic’s Everybody for #1 all genre, while his newest single “Either Way” was the most added song last week on country radio. Though publicity has been somewhat light for the record, Stapleton did sit down with Charlie Rose on Thursday (5/12) for a lengthy discussion, and to perform the acoustic “Either Way.”
In the interview, Charlie Rose tried to portray Chris Stapleton as “Country’s Reigning Outlaw” based off of Rollings Stone’s recommendation, which Stapleton responded to with an “Eh…,” and didn’t appear to be too comfortable with. Though he did give deference to all the great country Outlaws who came before him, Stapleton also, as he’s done before, revealed that the fight against pop or other influences in country is not one he’s willing to wage, even though others tend to want to assign that to his music.
“I’m not much of an Outlaw,” Stapleton says. “I certainly always have a tip of the hat to and have in my mind Waylon and Willie and Merle Haggard and that era of music. It’s a lot of my favorite things. There were a lot of things musically they were doing right. And not that there’s a right and wrong, but things that I prefer … Just being themselves, and doing what feels good to them versus trying to be what somebody else was doing.”
When Rose asked Stapleton if he saw himself as an entry back to the Outlaw era, Stapleton replied,
“I don’t know that I would be an entry back, but I certainly wouldn’t mind be viewed as a bridge. I’m not going to put myself in any kind of a sentence with those guys. But yeah, I think it’s important for me personally to always kind of have a tip of the hat to those guys, but also old R&B singers; Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin. I like all kinds of music.”
On the complaints about the direction of modern country, Stapleton compared it to not liking sushi, but not feeling the need to criticize the people who do.
“That’s how a lot of the chatter around music feels to me when one kind of music is right, and another kind of music is wrong,” Stapleton says. “If music makes somebody feel good and they enjoy it, that’s cool, that’s great for them. And if you don’t like to listen to something, turn to something else that you do like. It doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with someone that likes a different kind of music. That’s so weird to me … There’s always been elements of whatever pop music was in country music, and it’s always kind of rolled over. It’s this pendulum that swings back and forth. I don’t think that’s a new conversation. There’s always going to be those two sides of the coin in country music.”
Stapleton’s performance, and the whole interview can be seen below.