No matter how you feel about Chris Stapleton, it’s hard to not recognize that he shook the country music world to its core and caused a significant course correction for the genre when he was coronated as country’s next superstar at the 2015 CMA Awards. But since then his propensity to write new material has been lacking—something he’s addressed in interviews himself. Though he started on the mainstream side of music as a songwriter specifically, his output has significantly slowed over the last few years. His sister albums From A Room Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 from 2017 were mostly filled with previously-released material done anew. Stapleton’s success seems to have taken away some of his fire to create.
However this might be changing. Over this summer during his All-American Roadshow Tour, Stapleton has been featuring a couple of new songs. They may be selections he’s had in his pocket for a while (Stapleton was good at hoarding songs during his heyday of writing, as we’ve come to find out), or they may be brand new compositions. Either way, it’s a positive sign that new material from Stapleton is on the way, and perhaps he’s gotten back into the composing groove.
As we know about Stapleton, he likes to work a lot of soul and blues influences into his country, driven by his very soulful singing style. The first new song he’s been showcasing is called “Minimum Wage,” which is a blues song about being broke with a meaty groove. It was co-written with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fame. Campbell also produced Marty Stuart’s last record Way Out West, so he’s no stranger to country.
The second new Chris Stapleton song has a sinister side. Called “Bad Side of The Blood,” it’s about being the black sheep of the family, and features the more country soul style of Stapleton. Amateur videos of both songs can be procured on the internet for those interested, or you can wait for the studio versions, which will undoubtedly sound better.
No word at the moment of when a new single or record should be coming from Stapleton, or when he might be heading into the studio. But either way, these two new songs could mean the creative juices are starting to flow for Stapleton again, and hopefully there’s more where these came from. Over the last couple of years, it appeared country music was beginning to suffer from a little “Stapleton fatigue” from all the success and awards he received. Now perhaps enough time has passed for the batteries to be recharged, for both Stapleton and the public.