On Chris Stapleton Playing The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon


Normally I don’t do these types of posts, where the day after an artist performs on a late night talk show or covers some other artist at a show in Osh Kosh, outlets rush to post the video the next day and promote it on their own site, as if a direct link to the video wouldn’t suffice. That’s what the stupid news crawl at the top of SCM that nobody pays attention to is for. I just think it’s lazy journalism to look at everyday musical events as original content.

There are exceptions however, maybe when a relatively smaller artist makes their network debut like Dale Watson or Ray Wylie Hubbard, or when the event is newsworthy on its one right for whatever reason, and maybe Chris Stapleton’s performance on Fallon Thursday (12-17) falls into that category. It was not his network TV debut, nor is it relevant to refer to Stapleton as “relatively small” anymore. He’s now a Top 20 selling artist in 2015, and he pulled that off for all intents and purposes in less than a month.

The song Stapleton chose to perform on Fallon was “Sometimes I Cry,” which was a fairly strange selection. The song takes a bit to get off the ground, ends abruptly, and isn’t particularly country whatsoever. But Chris knew his crowd. The Tonight Show demo is full of mainstream humans who need something easy to get into, and that’s what Stapleton gave them. As you watched him perform, you just knew he probably sold himself another 40,000 albums.

Even Questlove and the Tonight Show band were visibly blown away after the performance. I’m sure normally when they hear the musical guest is going to be of the country persuasion, they’re fishing for their ear plugs in their gig bags. In Stapleton’s case, he practically showed them up.

All Stapleton has to do is get on stage, and everything else works itself out. He’s unstoppable. When he releases a new record, who knows where it could go. He could pull Taylor Swift-sized numbers. And if, if he pulls out an upset at the Grammy Awards in February and gets a performance slot, he could become one of the biggest performers from North America. There’s no marketing behind this. I’m pretty convinced Chris Stapleton’s peeps have no clue what they’re doing. We all know mainstream country is a copycat business, and there’s no model for this. They’re just as surprised as the rest of us, and are not sure exactly how to handle it. But this is all what happens when you give real talent a chance.

Anyway, here’s the stupid video: