The Case Against Chris Stapleton As Country Music’s Savior
Not everybody is happy about all this mainstream success and good times being had by Chris Stapleton and his fans, and I’m not talking about the apostles of Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett who got shafted last Wednesday night by Stapleton’s wins at the CMA’s. I’m talking about died-in-the-wool, tried-and-true country fans who think we’ve all been had by a pop star posing in an Outlaw’s costume who is nothing more than a puppet of the industry. Oh and that’s just where it begins. From conspiracy theories, to downright vitriol and venom for Stapleton, not everybody is on board, especially when you start talking about him in the context of a “country music savior.”
And if you take Chris Stapleton’s career, split it down the middle, pull out the tweezers and start dissecting, you’re going to find some unsavory stuff, at least if you’re a traditional country fan. Some of the concerns and criticism with Chris Stapelton and specifically how he got to this point are warranted. He did write songs for Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett, and he isn’t straight-down-the-middle hardcore traditional country like Jamey Johnson, or even Sturgill Simpson.
So for the sake of argument, fairness, and equal time, let’s take an honest, devil’s advocate look at Chris Stapleton, and see if some of this criticism is worthy of wearing the luster off of his CMA wins, and his astounding commercial success subsequently.
“He Wrote Terrible Pop Country Songs for Bad Country Stars”
On the surface, this criticism is true, and it is a criticism that has been levied against Stapleton by Saving Country Music commonly, as well as other critics and writers when taking into consideration the merits of Chris Stapleton the songwriter. Stapleton’s name has been on a number of songs that certainly haven’t done any favors in furthering the hopes of either substance or country roots making a resurgence in the mainstream. As a strong, dedicated member of the Music Row songwriting community, Stapleton has written songs for Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Thomas Rhett—not necessarily the resume you would expect from a country music “savior.”
However, when I really started digging deep into Stapleton’s songwriting catalog expecting to be able to populate a long list of songs Stapleton could be embarrassed for being a part of, I was sorely disappointed. When talking about songs that are truly disappointments, and not just songs that someone may not like for some reason, I surprisingly only came up with five of them that fit squarely in this category.
” “Crash & Burn” – Thomas Rhett
” “Something To Do With My Hands” – Thomas Rhett
” “South Side” – Thomas Rhett
” “Drink a Beer” – Luke Bryan
” “Hangover Tonight” – Gary Allan’s “Metro-Bro” song that bombed.
Now granted, if it’s news to you that Stapleton received a songwriting credit for these songs, you might be quite surprised and second-guess your Stapleton fandom yourself. But are any of these truly terrible songs from a songwriting perspective, or do we just hate them more because of who sang them, and how they were produced? With a song like “South Side,” there’s no excusing it. It’s absolutely deplorable, and anyone involved in any phase of its making should hang their head in shame.
But consider a song like Luke Bryan’s “Drink A Beer.” First off, Stapleton didn’t necessarily write this song specifically for Luke Bryan. He wrote the song, then at some point Bryan put a “hold” on it as they call it in the business, and eventually decided to record it. Also, even though “Drink A Beer” may not be great, it’s not particularly offense. It’s the production, Luke’s involvement, and the way the song was portrayed as “deep” that made it such a flash point. Otherwise, it’s harmless.
But take these five songs, and even consider there may be a few more bad ones lurking out there that may not be as obvious, including ones he wrote for Jason Aldean and Tim McGraw, and then consider all the good songs Stapleton has written, and some of the other artists who’ve cut his songs.
Chris Stapleton has also written songs for and with Jason Eady, Lee Ann Womack, Guy Clark, Will Hoge, Don Williams, George Strait, Anderson East, Lonesome River Band, Ashley Monroe, Kellie Pickler, Julie Roberts, Balasm Range, Alan Jackson, Josh Turner, John Michael Montgomery, Travis Tritt, Patty Loveless, and others. Oh, and he wrote or co-wrote virtually all the songs for the first two albums of the SteelDrivers.
Now granted, some of these names will still be polarizing to country purists. But these names should prove Chris Stapleton can, has, and does write country songs of substance, many times recorded by traditional country artists and in an overwhelming fashion when considering his entire body of work. Does that completely absolve Stapleton of any criticism for writing songs with Thomas Rhett? No, no it doesn’t. And it shouldn’t. But to say that he is a pop songwriter that all of a sudden flipped a light switch when it came to his own music to fool everyone is an aberration of the facts when taking into consideration the full breadth of his songwriting work.
“Chris Stapleton Isn’t Traditional Country”
I suppose by definition, Chris Stapleton isn’t traditional country in the traditional sense. Steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and banjo are not predominately featured on Traveller. But that’s partly because the record was cut live, and Stapleton plays his own leads. Chris does have a lot of blues, Southern rock, and R&B/Muscle Shoals influences in his music, especially in his singing style.
But to say Chris Stapleton isn’t country is hubris. He is a country artist, playing country music. Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and many other country performers throughout the years did not have predominant country music instrumentation in their music either. Country music isn’t a formula, it is a feeling, and Chris Stapleton delivers that feeling in bushel baskets. The fact that he can remain country while instilling his music with elements from other influences is an asset, and one of the reasons it resonates so well with so many people.
It is a misguided notion to think that all country music must sound extremely traditional at all times or it can’t qualify as country at all. This Bible-thumping style of traditionalism isn’t helping preserve the traditions of country, it’s helping them slip through our fingers because it gives fuel to folks like Blake Shelton who say traditional country folks only want to listen to the exact same songs over and over and never want to move forward at all, because that’s exactly what these hardcore traditionalists are condoning.
Country must stick to its roots to survive, but it always has to push itself as well, to continue to stay relevant. An artist like Chris Stapleton embodies that balance of a traditional sound with a relevant approach.
“Just Wait, He’ll Be Cutting Pop Songs Soon Enough”
The next major move Chris Stapleton makes will be a big one. What will his next record sound like? Now that he’s solidly in the mainstream, will he start to collaborate with other mainstream artists like Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line? Part of this concern stems from the fact that Stapleton’s big moment came while he was sharing the stage with Justin Timberlake on the CMA’s.
The answer to this question is that we have absolutely no clue where Chris Stapleton will go from here, and it’s unfair to assume what Stapleton is going to do one way or the other in the future. As a country fan, to not sit back and enjoy the success Stapleton has found because you assume he will let you down seems like an unnecessary deprivation not based on anything but suspicion. Chris Stapleton has had every chance to sell out up to this point with his solo career, and instead he decided to cut an organic record with traditional leanings with Dave Cobb and a live band. Let’s enjoy these moments instead of fabricating reasons to believe they’re destined to be fleeting.
Granted, it is fair to criticize Stapleton for collaborating with Timberlake when the CMA’s are supposed to be a country show. Just because Timberlake is more liked than most pop stars in country and beyond, doesn’t remove the fact that he’s still a pop star, and one who got his start in a boy band to boot.
But Timberlake was also one of the catalysts for all of this success. It’s not ideal, but it’s also not the antithesis of traditional country some are portraying it to be. Once again, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and so many other traditional country stars collaborated with pop artists in their day, and some even had their dalliances in the pop realm themselves. But let’s focus on the here and now instead of anticipating being let down.
If, and it’s a big ‘IF,’ Chris Stapleton comes out with his next record and it’s more in the vein of Thomas Rhett, then there will be plenty of time to pummel him as the Benedict Arnold of country. Until then, let’s be happy there’s signs country music is moving in the right direction.
“Oh Great, Now Everyone Will Be Making ‘Traditional’ Country'”
One concern is that Chris Stapleton’s success will lead to really bad stars reverting to music similar to Chris Stapleton’s to ride this new craze that has suddenly taken over country music. Once again, let’s hold our horses. Chris Stapleton still remains very much an anomaly, not an entire paradigm shift in country music. We have no idea where all of this will lead. If it does lead to posers trying to make good country music but failing miserably at it, well then we’ll call those folks out, label them as phonies and bandwagoners when it’s time. Assuming this will happen and lumping the blame for it on Chris Stapleton could become a self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s moments like Chris Stapleton’s wins where we don’t need to rest on our laurels, but double the efforts explain the virtues of true country music.
Others with a more selfish perspective don’t ever want to see true country music become accepted in the mainstream because they’ve built their entire identities around being oppressed as a traditional country fan. It’s what makes them feel unique, and they don’t want others impinging on the reality they’ve set for themselves. Some are country music warriors who’ve been fighting this fight for so long, they don’t know how to turn their daggers in for plowshares. All they know to do is fight. Some of them include artists who’ve been at this for a long time.
But simply put, these people are being very self-centered. Everyone has a right to good music, just like everyone has a right to good food and water. Many traditional country artists need the support of new fans to help sustain or grow their careers. To want to keep everything small and dingy just so it stays familiar to you is no way to be a good neighbor, or a good fan. Basically, it’s taking a page out of hipsterism.
“The CMA’s Were Rigged. It Means Nothing”
Undoubtedly horse trading, bloc voting, and other hijinks are behind many of the awards bestowed at the CMA’s and ACM’s, and a speculative eye should always be cast towards them. Saving Country Music has been engaged in this very practice as a gadfly and watchdog for years, at times specifically calling out organizations like the ACM’s for breaking their own stated rules.
Some are saying Stapleton’s wins were all a ploy to lure traditional country fans back in the fold, or otherwise anoint a new star that they can then turn into the next Luke Bryan.
In my professional opinion, having covered these awards shows for many years, and purposely attempting to seek out irregularities, issues with the rules, or other problems with the way the CMA’s and ACM’s conduct their business, I can say with great confidence that there was nobody more shocked at how the votes broke and allowed Stapleton to walk away with three trophies than the CMA, the CMA voters, and Music Row’s major labels. There is absolutely no financial benefit to what happened for anyone but Stapleton and his label. The good ol’ boy system that regularly rigs these awards always works to spread the love out among multiple artists on multiple labels. And that good ol’ boy system failed.
Why? Because it underestimated the love and respect Stapleton had garnered in the industry as a songwriter. Where the CMA good ol’ boy system failed was giving Stapleton the nominations in the first place. They thought this would be the red meat to keep the “traditionalists” and independent fans at bay. They never had any clue he would actually win.
Still others say, “Hey, it’s an anomaly. Next year it will be the same crappy people winning again.” People said that same thing when George Strait won Entertainer of the Year from both the CMA’s and ACM’s in 2013/2014. The tide is turning. The industry sees the value of keep traditional country and its fans in the fold. Most of the folks working in the country music industry know a lot of the music is garbage. They aren’t listening to it, they’re listening to Chris Stapleton. And that’s how they voted.
“Chris Stapleton Didn’t Get to the Top The Right Way”
Chris Stapleton did not get to the top of the country music ladder by punching and clawing his way there. There were definitely moments in his career when that was the case, when he was out on the road with the SteelDrivers and the Jompson Brothers paying dues. There were times he played small venues as a solo artist to virtually nobody. Stapleton paid dues, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
However, the very specific way he was able to get himself a major label deal, and walk away from the 2015 CMA Awards with three trophies was by working the system as a songwriter. Chris Stapleton played the game. He knew what he wanted, and he knew how he was going to get there. He saw how Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, and many others started as songwriters, and then parlayed that into arena acts. He worked from inside the system. He shook hands and schmoozed with everyone. He collaborated with Thomas Rhett and others. And his name on Music Row spread to every office.
Meanwhile, there’s hundreds of other performers and songwriters out there doing it the right way. They never compromised or schmoozed with the wrong people. Is it fair that Chris Stapleton got to hopscotch them all?
No, it’s not fair, and there’s a strong contingent of artists and songwriters who are just as angry about all of the Stapelton love as many fans, and they probably have a right to be. Some of these artists are more traditional than Stapleton. Some of these artists have paid more dues. Some of them are just downright better. And it’s understandable these artists and their fans would be a little bitter about the Stapleton situation.
However there’s the forest, and then there’s the trees. Whether you’re a country artist doing it the right way, or the fan of these such artists, Chris Stapleton’s success only bodes well for you. Is Chris Stapleton some ideal specimen for every independent and traditional country fan to get behind? Of course not. But he’s damn close, and he’s the one who actually broke through the system.
And again, let’s point out that Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and others worked within the system as well. Willie started out writing pop country for Patsy Cline. He left RCA, but only to return to Music Row two albums later when he signed with Columbia to release Red Headed Stranger. As Tompall Glaser once said, “Damn it, the fight isn’t in Austin and it isn’t in Los Angeles. It’s right here in Nashville, right here two blocks from Music Row, and if we winand if our winning is ever going to amount to anything in the long runwe’ve got to beat them on their own turf.”
“He’s No Country Music Savior”
In some respects, Chris Stapleton may not make the best country music “savior” if there will ever be such a thing. There is something in the country music ethos that can’t help our brains latching onto the idea that at some point, some traditional country artist will come along and become a superstar without compromising and help turn the tide in country music. The concern with Stapleton is that he has compromised at times in his career. But even then, lumping such a distinction on any artist seems like an unfair load on their shoulders. Their job is to play music.
But who exactly is declaring Chris Stapleton a “country music savior”? As the proprietor of a site called “Saving Country Music,” I can say the vast majority of people associating Stapleton with being a country music savior are the same exact people complaining that he shouldn’t be regarded as one. In other words, even though you have to travel far and wide to find someone saying, “Chris Stapleton is country music’s savior,” you can’t post anything on Facebook about him without hoards of “REAL” country fans telling you how “he’s not a country savior.” It’s a “Straw Man,” or painting an extreme viewpoint to then refute it, when the case isn’t even really being made.
The only instance I could find of someone declaring Chris Stapleton a “country music savior” was the sports site Deadspin. And are we really going to let Deadspin write the book on Stapleton’s impact on country?
Maybe Cris Stapleton will save country music. Maybe he won’t. That’s for history to decide.
Dammit, Be Happy
Traditional and independent country fans have been so put under in the last half decade and beyond, a losers mentality has set in. In the end, this is the underlying reason for all of the concerns addressed above. They’ve become so used to losing, it has become part of their identity. They’re so used to seeing things go wrong, they’re untrusting when anything goes right.
Chris Stapleton’s success is a victory for country music. It’s a victory for traditional country, for independent country, for alt-country and Americana, and for bluegrass—all of which is embodied in the Chris Stapleton career and sound.
Dammit, be happy, and let’s celebrate. It doesn’t mean we should let our guard down, but it does mean things are changing.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:12 am
Personally, he isn’t my favorite “country” combatant against the bros, but if he truly kicks the door down, I am excited at who could follow him to the top.
November 12, 2015 @ 9:40 am
I wish I could leave a comment for the article, but it won’t let me for some reason so I’ll have to do it this way.
Whoever wrote this article has to be an idiot. I live one county over from Stapleton. Yeah he wrote songs for “bro-country” artists but it’s called “having a job and getting paid”. He has been a well paid song writer for only 15 years now so what in the hell do you expect. I have followed his music career from day one, from the bluegrass, to the garage rock, to his stuff today. So before you open your mouth again with so much idiocy, do us all a favor and STFU
November 12, 2015 @ 10:55 am
Not surprised you couldn’t figure out how to comment since you couldn’t read past the title and understand we’re on the same side. Actually read the story and get back with us.
November 12, 2015 @ 3:53 pm
before you open your mouth STFU, classic stuff.
May 24, 2023 @ 3:47 am
I’m not even American, I’m English so can’t comment on Country music authenticity but I will say that Chris is my number 1 artist of any genre. Also because of him I listen to a lot of Country these days, from George Jones, Reba, Dolly, and the wonderful Sturgill Simpson.
November 14, 2015 @ 2:37 pm
Sounds you’re the entitled type just because you live near him. Go back and read the article Travis. Also read the other articles on this site about Chris.
November 20, 2015 @ 3:56 pm
Travis you are an absolute moron
January 17, 2016 @ 9:19 pm
he is a hell of a lot better then most of that new shit out there
March 31, 2016 @ 6:44 pm
he sucks as a singer . someone tell him to keep writing
April 14, 2016 @ 7:19 pm
Really? Actually, he sings the shit out of stuff, if you can’t tell. I thought that was a total given. This was one of the very first things I noticed about him, having only very recently heard a song of his and knowing absolutely nothing else about him. I’m honestly interested to know who, in your mind, doesn’t suck.
January 8, 2017 @ 8:17 pm
Catching up with this article very very late, but I was glad to see it because Stapleton’s mega success has been a bit of a mystery to me. I was surprised when Trigger wrote here, “Country music isn’t a formula, it is a feeling, and Chris Stapleton delivers that feeling in bushel baskets.” From my limited exposure to Traveler, I didn’t get the feeling. I didn’t spend enough time with the record to have any cogent explanation for that reaction; he just left me cold. Based on Trigger’s arguments and the comments here, plus Stapleton’s long track record as a songwriter (I hadn’t how successful he was as a writer), I’ll have to give him another listen.
July 2, 2019 @ 5:00 am
Your a poor judge of singing skill/ talent …if you don’t feel Stapleton’s voice, you are truly dead inside.
April 13, 2020 @ 3:37 pm
I agree. Sturgill Simpson could sing in circles around Stapleton. Chris Stapleton’s music, to me, is a crowd-pleasing, refined mash-up of everything that Dave Cobb has produced in times past — a little Sturgill, a little Isbell, a little Anderson East, and don’t forget the Jamey Johnson! Chris sounds like a blue-eyed soul singer trying too hard to be an outlaw, or vice-versa. I get how Stapleton is “technically soulful” (for lack of better words) in the same vein as Adam Levine or Bruno Mars, but he just doesn’t have the grit or the guts of George Jones or Merle Haggard, and it’s like nails on a chalkboard whenever I hear anyone compare him to them. He’s a mite too nasally to be a “soul man” like Solomon Burke or Otis Redding, so I wish he’d quit trying to sound like them, and I just don’t get the same feeling they put in their songs.
April 3, 2016 @ 8:04 pm
Chris Stapleton is a traitor. You want to support Ram Truck Mexican jobs, then take your ass to Mexico and sing Spanish. We don’t need you in a made in USA country.
August 24, 2019 @ 6:51 pm
RAM is owned by Chrysler and they are made at the Warren Truck Plant in Warren, Michigan.
June 21, 2017 @ 8:53 am
I feel like he is wearing a Halloween costume ‘country outlaw’. Outlaws are tough, not pussies.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:19 am
Chris Stapleton had a JOB as a songwriter on music row to pay his freaking BILLS. Most of us have had shitty jobs. Jobs that we weren’t proud of or didn’t like. Jobs that we may have liked but worked for a company known for fucking people over. He has a family to feed and for people to say, “fuck this guy, he isn’t country;” those people need to take a lon look within themselves and ask if the road to success is all glorious. Everything he has PERFORMED has been from the roots of country, blue grass, and the blues.
I don’t know if he’s the savior of country music or not, but personally, I don’t think that one person (Sturgill) all by themselves saves anything. Saving country music is about the fans as much as it is the musicians. The man earned his due. Good for him. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Stapleton in the future. As far as I’m concerned, Chris, Sturgill, and Isbell can’t cut records fast enough.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:54 am
November 11, 2015 @ 1:11 pm
And let me put it like this: for all his bro and metro songs that he put out, yeah sure the soccer mom and the people driving to high schools were probably the ones listening to them. But for the smart guys like myself who like to have a deeper judgement on what’s good or not, I was smart enough to not listen to his bro-songs, because even though I didn’t know his name at the time, I still remember watching the Opry and seeing the same guy in the bluegrass band watching this guy actually sounding more like that one guy from The Marshall Tucker Band singing “Can’t You See”.
That’s my rebuttal against the “He Wrote Terrible Pop Country Songs for Bad Country Stars”, I’ve not turned on the real radio dial in nearly ten fucking years because I chose not to and in doing so I’ve avoided those songs and instead focused on the real thing. BTW other than seeing a Youtube clip of him seeing “Never Wanted Nothing More” I bet you he probably don’t sing those songwriter cuts anyway (Though I could be wrong)
November 11, 2015 @ 4:19 pm
He’s done them on radio tours some of the bigger cuts. Each has its own YouTube video. The coolest one to check out though is at boots and hearts festival last year. It was a rain delay and they were under one of them pole barn things- they had one at stagecoach also for the side stages. Anyways holds about 4,000. He sang comeback song and drink a beer with every single person singing along to him. It’s a shorter version maybe two minutes in total.
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 1:18 pm
Yeah, exactly. He made money for himself and his family, while building connections that eventually let him release an album on his own terms.
CURSE HIM FOR BEING SMART!
November 13, 2015 @ 3:12 pm
couldn’t the same thing be same about the people that released his bro country songs?
Aren’t they just paying the bills too?
Cool Lester Smooth
November 13, 2015 @ 7:50 pm
They absolutely are. If they leverage playing bro country songs into being allowed to make the type of album they want to make, rather than something pumped out of the Nashville Machine, we should give them the benefit of the doubt, too.
I don’t have a problem with Joe Nichols putting out songs like “Yeah,” because he does it so that he can cut stuff like “Billy Graham’s Bible.”
November 11, 2015 @ 1:19 pm
He even said this in his speech. So many people here who have helped me feed my family.
November 11, 2015 @ 1:40 pm
Very fair article. I am unabashedly a Chris Stapleton fanboy. I don’t really look at him as a strictly traditional country music guy, though. He does do that and very well, but he also does other genres – always has. I do think he opened the door for others who are more of the “strictly traditional country” savior type guys that some are looking for. More power to them. There’s an audience out there for them, too. If some of the “current country superstars” adjust their sound for a little more traditional appeal – in some cases might have wanted to do that already, but needed leverage when going to their producers, handlers, and so forth- then that might be a good thing,too.
I also think it needs to be emphasized that people are so conditioned to equating “pop country” to “bad, fake autotuned shit that sucks as pop or country or whatever one wants to call the unholy hybrid” that they’re quick to dismiss the possibility that there’s good and bad pop, too. I mean, I fully expect Chris Stapleton’s main thrust to be toward the traditional country “Traveller” side of his talents, and that his future CDs will reflect that. That said, hypothetically, if someone like Meghan Trainor or Kelly Clarkson wanted to do a one-off duet song for pop radio (not marketed to country radio at all), he could do that, too. I personally don’t see that it takes anything at all away from his country output, but those looking for a country savior might not cotton to it. While I’m at it, I’ll mention that Dan Wilson is a guy I consider more of a pop song writer. I just happen to think he’s a really GOOD pop song writer, though. “When the Stars Come Out” and “The Right Ones” are his Stapleton collaborations that I know. I know it’s the equivalent of putting a “kick me” sign in some circles to say these are “good pop country” or that such a thing can even possibly exist.
Finally, I am reminded just a little bit of Leon Russell. Some of the rock-ribbed traditionalists back in the day didn’t accept his “Hank Wilson” country efforts, since he was known for other genres. They missed out on some nice country music, though.
February 21, 2017 @ 3:11 pm
Correct. Glen Campbell is another example. Supreme and I mean exceptional guitarist, excellent vocal talent, and good writer. Was SHUNNED by the country purists. Oh and lets not forget the YEARS of work as a member to the wrecking crew in ( Dare I say it, CALIFORNIA) where he worked with tons of mainstream pop, soul, rock and that unsuccessful , rinky dink outfit known as the Beach Boys. ( he was affectionately known as the 5th beach boy).
This constant drumbeat of purist/non-purist etc. arguments tends to overlook the artistry and commitment required to even be mentioned in the same sentence as all of the artists in the article. Think about how long it takes a person to become just average on the guitar and then wonder what level of perfection is required to play like a Stapleton, or Campbell, or Jerry Reed; the list is fairly long but the fact remains that as a percentage of those who call themselves active musicians, songwriters and vocalists, the list of those that hit it big is VERY short. Stack that up against everyone else and it won’t even show up on a graph
It’s very easy to say this is good or that is bad but easier still for folks to find what they like , listen to that , and quit boring us all to tears with tripe like this.
June 26, 2019 @ 6:12 pm
Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
November 11, 2015 @ 11:26 am
Yes things are changing.
“Traveller” is eyeing another week at #1 on the all-genre Billboard album chart and “Nobody To Blame” is raising fast at radio.
Chris is a great musician, lyricist and artist.
But I can understand those who say he isn’t “real country”. I mean, he’s more Americana, in the style of Willie Nelson. His vocals are kinda bluesy. He is very country in his lyrics and attitude, but I’m not completely sold on his style, just like I was never sold to Willie Nelson.
I personally love steel guitars, banjos and fiddles. That’s what screams COUNTRY to me. That’s why I root for Mo Pitney, hoping he can make it big too thanks to this new climate.
I’ve seen him singing an old Ray Price song and… wow, if there will ever be a “country music savior”, that should be him.
Chris is great though. And country. Just not my kind of country.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:54 am
I can’t trust a guy that doesn’t like Willie Nelson.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:06 pm
I like Willie. He’s a legend and has great tunes.
But he ain’t no Ernest Tubb nor Lefty nor Buck. I prefer this kind of in-your-face country.
December 25, 2016 @ 7:30 am
Oi love chris stapleton man . But a totally agree with you brent . I meet bob Montgomery briefly. And he told me the people who dont like will are people who cant write like him . Made me laugh and be a better writer
November 11, 2015 @ 11:57 am
Hey, not all music is for everyone. We all have different tastes. And as a country fan, if you prefer steel guitar and fiddle in your music, that’s completely understandable. I certainly do. Not everyone has to “like” Stapleton’s music. What fun would that be? But not liking it doesn’t equate to it not being country.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:28 am
I didn’t want to comment before because I wanted everybody to have their day in the sun but now that you’ve opened the can of worms… My question to people who like Chris Stapleton is: If he looked like Luke Bryan or like Thomas Rhett would his fans still like him as much? It’s an impossible question because it can never be proved either way but still. How much is image and how much is substance? I haven’t listened to a whole lot of him but from what I’ve heard he sounds more like a blues / R n B guy than a country singer. He performed with a boy band star turned pop singer on the CMA’s and everybody goes crazy for it. If he didn’t look like an outlaw singer from the 70’s would people have the same reaction? Hunter Hayes wrote every song and played every instrument on his DEBUT major label release but he gets no love around here. Would he get more respect if he looked more like Chris and not like a teenage preppy? Just my 2 cents.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:55 am
I can honestly say that I would still be a fan. Have you seen Mo Pitney? I am a fan of his, and he definitely doesn”™t look like an outlaw. He looks like a awkward teenager to me. Hunter Hayes has talent, but to me, his voice is horrible. Again, that”™s just my opinion. I would rather watch my 400lb boss wiggle his loose tooth with his tongue while farting “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” then listen to Hunter Hayes. Hunter Hayes has zero emotion in his voice, you feel nothing when he sings. No one can deny the emotion in Chris Stapleton”™s voice, Sturgill’s voice, Isbell’s voice, etc.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:21 pm
Hunter Hayes has so much potential, but settles for so little.
One consistent thread I’ve detected from the beginning of his discography to now is this: he has the chops when it comes to both musicianship as well as a knack at writing bright, crisp melodic compositions……..but suffers from a lack of emotional investment as you said, as well as tonal redundancy.
To put it another way, he has many of the tools that can shape well-rounded performers, but lacks range or applied knowledge in how to use them. He may know how to deliver an impressive guitar solo, but it nonetheless fails to rattle me quite like that of Keith Urban’s in “Stupid Boy” or that of Brad Paisley’s earlier solos for instance. He has proficiency, but not exactly passion.
And the same problem surfaces with his songwriting. He succeeds in knowing how to consistently pen potent melodies, but what good will they be ultimately if you’re relying on homogenous tones and production? “Storm Warning” was actually a good song on its own merit, but it hasn’t stood up particularly well because it sounds too similar in tone with Rascal Flatts, for instance.
Finally, it seems to me Hayes is suffering from what I like to call “Avril Lavigne Syndrome”. What do I mean by that? Well, Lavigne started her career out by releasing an album that I still consider to be her most mature to date…………..then gradually continues to grow increasingly immature with each subsequent album as a whole and seems to have no clue how to grow up with her initial fans. Much like Avril, Hayes’ latest release is his most puerile, with “21” easily being his most immature and empty-calorie song to date.
Again, I think Hayes has true talents, especially with musicianship and melodic composition. It’s just the passion is lacking, and I think he also needs to seek out collaborators in production who know how to elevate his potential in both veins rather than undermine them by paint-by-numbers approaches.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:54 pm
Great responses, I have not listened to Mo Pitney. I’ll have to check him out. I was just using Hunter Hayes as an example that’s all. I agree that his weak point is his lack of emotion and depth to his vocals . He is young so maybe his voice will mature in time but that wasn’t the point I was trying to make. He was just the first parallel that came to mind. My point is that I wonder how many people are listening to Chris Stapleton with their eyes. How many people are giving him a pass because he looks the part. And also, how many people write off someone like Hunter based on his looks. I also really liked Avril’s first album and totally agree that it’s been a backwards journey for her ever since (from what little I’ve heard since).
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 1:08 pm
If anyone is listening to Stapleton with their eyes, they’re missing out.
The man’s got an all-world voice.
November 11, 2015 @ 3:40 pm
I can’t speak for anyone else and won’t, but my answer is “No, I don’t write performers and entertainers off based on fashion selections, haircuts and other superficial details irrelevant to the music!”
Take Chris Young, for instance. His fashion choices have evolved significantly, but I don’t allow that to influence my opinion of his music. Same with, say, Easton Corbin. His new album sucks, but it isn’t because he traded his flannel and blue jeans for a suit and tie. It’s because his song selections suck.
November 20, 2015 @ 5:29 pm
The first time I recall hearing him was listening to the Steel Drivers, then later I heard his version of Tennessee Whiskey on Pandora and it blew me away. I had no idea what he looked like at that point (really until Trigger wrote a piece on him). I have despised pop country from birth. The dude is just good no matter what he looks like.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:59 am
My question to people who like Chris Stapleton is: If he looked like Luke Bryan or like Thomas Rhett would his fans still like him as much?
I’ll answer that for myself. I don’t give a damn what he looks like. I was first drawn to him after hearing his voice on the first Steeldrivers album and I had no idea what he looked like. I’m a big Parker Millsap fan. He looks like he belongs in a stuffy white fraternity. But it’s his MUSIC that pulls me in.
November 11, 2015 @ 9:07 pm
Great point! Most of these folks, that aren’t mainstream, we get a first impression through their voice, not image. I, like yourself, fell in love with Stapleton through the Steeldrivers. Most of the bands I now love I have lucked into hearing, or read about on this site. These guys don’t get any tv time, so I usually hear something I love, then search them on YouTube.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
Sturgill Simpson might be a good case study for that question. He’s short haired with a goatee wearing New Balance shoes. He might as well be picking up dog poop in his yard in the suburbs. And everyone’s going ga-ga over him in the traditional/Outlaw realm.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:59 pm
But he is still disheveled looking. What if his short hair was combed, clean shaven and wore what ever the brand of “country” clothes the bro boys wear?
November 12, 2015 @ 7:44 am
You mean like Isbell?
November 13, 2015 @ 12:56 pm
No I don’t mean like Isbell. All these guys everybody is talking about look retro. They look NPR. They look left wing. They look underground. They do not look like mainstream country singers. At this point I’m unsure if everybody is messing with me or that everybody is so stuck in their world that they don’t even realize the difference.
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 1:04 pm
Hell, JTE and Patterson Hood look like douche-y hipsters.
November 11, 2015 @ 1:08 pm
I don’t know what JTE is but I looked up the Patterson Hood and yes, he looks hipster but that is completely different than preppy. He in no way looks like a main stream country singer.
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 1:12 pm
Justin Townes Earle.
November 11, 2015 @ 1:19 pm
No offence, but I don’t really think you know what I mean lol. I’m talking about looking like Luke Bryan or like Blake Shelton or any number of mainstream country radio stars. I’ll break it down to high school stereotypes. They guys I’m talking about play on the football team and have all the girls falling all over them. They guys you are talking about are in the high school band, really like english class and are really good platonic friends with the girls that the football players bang.
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 1:45 pm
So you mean someone who looks like Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard did in the 60s?
November 11, 2015 @ 1:51 pm
I give up
November 11, 2015 @ 2:03 pm
I lied, I can’t give up. I mean like Eddie Arnold or Jim Reeves.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:10 pm
Or Merle Haggard in the ’60s, like Cool Lester said. Classically handsome and clean cut. Or Corb Lund as pictured on his latest album.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:10 pm
It was never my experience that the football players were the type of guys that had girls fawning all over them. Some of them did, but those were the ones who were also smooth and good-looking. Most of football players were too ogreish and boorish to appeal to the attractive girls.
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 2:32 pm
Yeah, the skill players (WR/RB/QB) and the DBs would have done fine no matter what, but most of the team would only get girls because they played football.
And yeah, what Jack said. Merle was absolutely a “pretty boy” in the 60s.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:17 pm
RD, is that what the girls told you? Sorry, had to. Too good to pass up!
November 11, 2015 @ 2:28 pm
Haha. I only played football until 9th grade and then played baseball and basketball in high school and baseball in college. By the time I got to high school I hated football more than a Novocaine-less root canal. So, the reason that the girls didn’t like me in high school wasn’t because I was a football player…
November 11, 2015 @ 11:30 am
Trigger one question has been eating at me since the CMA’s. Do you think Stapleton planned or had ant idea that his album would blow up like it did? Months ago when Traveller started making the rounds it felt like an album written buy a songwriter who did it as a personal project. Some of those songs had been written for 5 years.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:53 am
I think it was a complete shock to Stapleton and his label. He had absolutely no intention to win awards with it. I think the nominations were a shock as well. He just made the record he wanted to without compromise. Meanwhile the industry saw they were teetering on a precipice and needed to highlight projects of substance, and decided to give Stapleton some nominations. Then when the voters actually got their cards in front of them they said, “Well hell, if it was up to me, Stapleton would win.” And lo and behold, he did.
Stapleton’s wins expose the long-standing theory that the people on Music Row don’t even like the music on the radio. They’re just doing what they think is best for the bottom line.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:56 pm
And you haven’t written yet (that I’ve seen) how Sturgill’s album was the influence/inspiration for Traveller. I read an interview where Stapleton said the light bulb went on when he heard Metamodern, that he didn’t even know an album could sound like that. Then he sought out Cobb and here we are.
November 11, 2015 @ 3:36 pm
Is one article a day on Stapleton since the CMAs not enough? 🙂
November 11, 2015 @ 4:53 pm
Hee. Of course it is! But still, to think Sturgill had an influence on ANYONE that led to a #1 album and 3 CMA’s is a story of its own.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
November 11, 2015 @ 11:32 am
At least enjoy all the gasping and spluttering coming from the fans of Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan, etc. I enjoy the taste of their salty tears.
Yes, I’m a bastard.
November 11, 2015 @ 3:00 pm
“Your tears are so yummy and sweet!”
And great name, too.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:43 am
When you write songs as a songwriter, you want them to be recorded. That’s what happened. However, I must say I feel no matter what crap he wrote that was recorded by the brahs, I think “Never Wanted Nothing More” makes up for it.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:45 am
I wouldn’t consider Stapleton a straight-up authentic country artist either. Half of “Traveller” is more informed by blues, soul and rock influences, if we’re being truthful here.
That said, above all else, all I ask for is AUTHENTICITY to the kind of music one performs. And Stapleton delivers that in spades on “Traveller”, regardless if the track is more dripping with country, blues, soul or rock flavors.
THAT is why I’m happy with his breakout success, as well as the fact it is happening to one of the nicest guys (in my opinion) in the scene. If he has a competitive bone in his body, I’m not seeing it. He paid his dues already working with The Steeldrivers, and though he has co-written a handful of ghastly tracks for other artists, they’re definitely well outnumbered by deserving ones.
How Stapleton chooses to apply his new success and stardom from here on out will determine my broader opinion of him. I get why he had to succumb to the Nashville songwriting machine to get his spurs in the door, but now that he has become a breakout star, there’s no incentive for him to continue resorting to that. And you can bet I will be much less forgiving if that does happen down the line.
However, I can’t see Stapleton being the kind of person that will be spoiled by success. He strikes me neither as suffering from egoism, nor narcissism disorder, nor entitlement attitudes. There’s a lot of grace and humility I sense surrounding him, and I think he is aware of what got him to a bigger stage above all else. I think Stapleton’s best days in terms of quality have yet to come.
November 12, 2015 @ 4:00 am
Folks that are criticizing the rock/soul/blues side of Stapleton as a liability to his trad-country cred (not you, Nadia, just piggy-backing on your comment) seem to have completely forgot about Hank Williams, Jr and Travis Tritt’s entire careers. Oh – and Waylon’s. Waylon was more JJ Cale and Tony Joe White than he was ever Ernest Tubb.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:49 am
Favorite song he’s co- written recently for me is from Hold My Beer Vol. 1’s ” Til it Does” written with Wade Bowen and Lee Thomas Miller I believe.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:51 am
Is he the savior, is he a traitor, yada yada yada. Don’t know and don’t care but what I do know is this guy has been sending chills up my spine with his soulful sound ever since I first heard the Steeldrivers. When I heard The Traveler and “discovered” The Jompson Brothers I knew he was the real deal for me and by that I don’t mean country or any other genre I mean label him what you will, I’m in. If I can forgive Jamey Johnson for honky tonk bawhatthefuck I can certainly move past any of Chris’s “transgressions”.
November 11, 2015 @ 11:57 am
hey, if BJ Barham is happy for him, then so am I.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
I for one was thrilled to see Chris walk away with all those awards the other night! I mean the sales number from last week prove if nothing more he got everyone’s attention. If folks realize they were missing out on some damn good country music for awhile it may make them seek out others they’ve been missing. The way I see it is it can’t do any more damage than has already been done by having Chris in the spotlight. My only concern is can he ride this wave for very long. He is with Mercury Records and they don’t have the best track record when it comes to keeping critical favorites relevant(Jamey Johnson&Kacey Musgraves). It will be very interesting to see how this story unfolds and what impact it will have on the direction of country music.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:05 pm
I don’t think there will ever be a saviour , but real talent/country singers will make it to the top as a team. Texas country/red dirt and the independant artists are becoming more and more popular every day through the internet.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:07 pm
One of the members of Turnpike Troubadours passive-aggressively took a shot at Stapleton on twitter and it rubbed me the wrong way.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:18 pm
There are a lot of artists who’ve been working very hard their entire lives to get recognized, and then seemingly overnight Chris Stapleton becomes a superstar after writing songs with Thomas Rhett and Luke Bryan. I’m not saying it’s right in any way. But it is somewhat understandable if you put themselves in their shoes. Nonetheless, I think we should all take a deep breath, and ponder what Stapleton means for country music, and not let our own biases cloud that.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:48 pm
yeah, but I’ve watched Chris pay dues for years. It was far fr/overnight success, he worked his ass off touring, making radio stations all day & then we’d play shows that night. I’ve not seen anyone work harder in this business & only few work as hard….
Brian W. Roach
November 11, 2015 @ 2:28 pm
I agree, Mr. Turner. I seen Chris and you at The Paramount Art Center, this past August. It was a GREAT SHOW. TRAVELER is a MASTERPIECE.
I was so happy for Chris, when he won his awards last week.
God Bless, and hope to see ya’ll again, soon.
November 11, 2015 @ 4:04 pm
I said in this article, and even bolded the type, “Stapleton paid dues.”
November 11, 2015 @ 4:37 pm
I was trying to support what you were saying, yet when I read it now I sound like an ass……now you see why I don’t get around these parts much…hahahahahaha….LoLing all over the place…..
November 11, 2015 @ 5:52 pm
No worries Robby, I just wanted to make sure you knew were were on the same page. When you play devil’s advocate, which is what I tried to do in this article, it can sometimes come across like you believe in something you’re actually speculative of. I feel like acknowledging that “Hey, Chris Stapleton wrote a few songs that traditional fans may not like” is actually a way to strengthen the argument for him being a genuine guy. The way some were portraying it, Stapleton never paid dues, wrote some songs for Luke Bryan, and then started pretending to be an Outlaw. By laying it all out, which is what I tried to do in this article, hopefully fans can make an informed decision about Stapleton, instead of knee-jerking to something they read on Facebook.
But in the end, none of this matters. The music speaks for itself. Even if Stapleton never paid dues and never struggled, he still put out an excellent album (with your help).
November 11, 2015 @ 6:49 pm
What was the tweet?
November 11, 2015 @ 9:13 pm
A comment was basically made saying that the industry pulled the wool over our eyes, by having one of their own play the fake outlast law part, and we fell for it. The term “bro with a beard” was used as well.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:16 pm
“South Side” is unforgivable…but at the same time, a man has to eat. Let’s all move on and shut up for once. I’ll say the same thing I said with Maddie & Tae–even if you don’t like this music personally, can’t we all just shut up and be happy about the victory for country? I’m starting to think that if Hank Williams rose from the dead tomorrow and started making records, there would still be people on these blogs who would find something about it to bitch about…and I have news for all of those people, that’s not going to happen, nor should we want it to. It’s the Chris Stapletons and the Kaceys and the Sturgills and the Jason Isbells and the Maddie & Taes who will save country music.
Chris Lewis "Louie"
November 11, 2015 @ 12:47 pm
I can’t see why these more traditional artists are bashing Stapleton. I understand that he got recognition in the matter of a week. But him winning only means that they win too, because more listeners who only get their music from mainstream radio may now be more inclined to find and listen to their music. It also makes labels and radio realize that there is more of a market out there for traditional country music in my opinion.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:25 pm
To repeat some of these comments, the only thing that is going to “Save” country music is the fans.
There is great music and great performers out there. Buy their albums, buy their merch, go out and see their shows. If all you do is buy their songs off iTunes, do it. Spread their names around. People love it when I recommend music or play good music in my garage. Good music is infectious.
Thank you for spreading the word. That is how Country Music will be saved. I flew from Canada to Nashville last weekend to see Sturgill at the Ryman. I also seen the Time Jumpers, Chuck Meade, Sarah Gayle Meech, Matt Woods, Jimmy Stewart and Friends and finished my trip seeing Cory Brannan and Jason Isbell at a sold out show at the gorgeous Tivoli theatre in Chttanooga.
It was 10 days I will never forget.
If you want to see country music be saved, get off the couch and go see a show.
November 11, 2015 @ 1:59 pm
Chris Lewis "Louie"
November 11, 2015 @ 12:32 pm
This was perfectly written. My thoughts exactly on how I feel about him and those that seem to be against him. I don’t have much to add because you nailed it on the head.
The only thing I can add is that when I listen to him, I hear alot of Travis Tritt and maybe a small bit of Waylon. Did people back then think Travis Tritt and Waylon were not country?…you sure did. I could include Hank Jr. into that as well. Stapleton takes a page out of their book as a country artist with southern rock/blues influence.
As for performing with a pop star. Did Willie get bashed for collaborating with Ray Charles. Ray Charles was not country and a pop star, but he had the respect of country fans. I think Timberlake is exactly the same.
November 11, 2015 @ 1:49 pm
I agree. Although, honestly (or perhaps unfortunately) Willie has sung duets with artists with far less credibility, whether in the country music world or otherwise, than Ray Charles. But that’s Willie’s style. He’ll duet with literally anyone, from Aerosmith to Snoop Dogg.
The interesting thing about Ray Charles was that he actually cut multiple country albums, and had a number one album on the country charts with 1984’s Friendship, produced by Billy Sherrill, which is where the song “Seven Spanish Angels” came from. It was apparently an album of duets with a bunch of country artists, including Merle Haggard. I didn’t know it even existed until recently when I was trying to look up some information about the Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music album. I’m gonna have to check it out, though.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:37 pm
@BEH. Hayes is a very talented young man…he DOES write his songs..he DOES play the hell out of a band trailer full of instruments..but I don’t imagine that substance seekers would change their minds about his music just because he traded his V-neck for an Uncle Jessie costume. They would see right through it. On the other hand, if Chris Stapleton was a clean cut young republican, I’d still take him just as serious. Chris’ appearance may lure some less discerning folks to his camp, but I don’t think that the serious lover of music..like those that frequent this wonderful site..are that easily duped. The guy writes great songs. He makes great music. He has written some songs that some traditional fans may not like. He is a paid writer. Just because he wrote some saccharine fluff for the publishing company doesn’t mean that is a representation of who he is as an artist. I always think of it likes this..A kid graduates high school, lands a construction job and gets married. He goes to work every day to provide for his family. He shows up, puts on his tool belt, and builds what the client wants. He doesn’t build what he considers his ideal home. He builds to other people’s specifications so that he can eventually be able to build to his..or to maintain. I think his catalog is crazy impressive. I’m a fan.
November 11, 2015 @ 1:47 pm
I”™d still take him just as serious. Chris”™ appearance may lure some less discerning folks to his camp, but I don”™t think that the serious lover of music..like those that frequent this wonderful site..are that easily duped.
I believe you would. I think that “some” turned into a huge number last week. And I think that there are very few serious lovers of music in the grand scheme of things. Ask Trigger how many unique views he gets on this site. Then A B it against how many people comment. .001% maybe? The big number is the casual listener. The small number is the serious listener. My comments aren’t really about Hunter or Chris for that matter but more about how most people perceive an artist based on their looks.
I am not knocking Chris btw. I have the utmost respect for people like him doing what it takes to put food on the table in the music biz. I’m commenting on some of his fans.
November 11, 2015 @ 12:44 pm
I noticed you said there wasn’t much steel on “Traveller”. You might want to give it another listen. The steel is prominent throughout. And I’m not “padding in a puddle of effects” to disguise one of the instruments that helped to define country music. Now I did go a little crazy @the end of “Might As Well Get Stoned” & even then, the solo keeps going, keeps going, keeps going….. I played my style of pedal steel guitar, as I did for Waylon, The Highwaymen, Sturgill (1st album), The upcoming Loretta album (unless the songs picked were from sessions I missed), etc…..
November 11, 2015 @ 2:00 pm
I’d just like to say thanks for your work, old & new. Seen y’all twice this year, may have to make it a 3rd on New Year’s.
November 11, 2015 @ 4:03 pm
I feel like I’m having to defend the opinions of other people. I’ve been calling “Traveller” country since day #1. I’ve even been calling it traditional country. In my review I said, and I quote, “there”™s nothing else to label ‘Traveller’ than traditional country.” I love the amount of steel guitar in the album. I’m not saying there’s not enough, or it’s not there at all. BUt I could link to hundreds of Facebook comments saying that very thing. Why? Because unless steel guitar is the absolute most prominent thing in every single song on an album, including overriding the singer, then it’s pop music to some people. It’s so much pop that they’re fuming mad that Chris Stapleton is being called country. I know, it’s crazy. But I’m attempting to defend him on this point.
November 11, 2015 @ 4:32 pm
I understand exactly what you’re saying. I’ve been back & forth w/many on everything from “it ain’t country” to whether I was sitting on a bail of hay when I played steel on it…..I realize it’s useless to try to reason w/someone who searches for anything to complain about. I apologize for sounding harsh. On a much better note, I do love the steel guitar on “Traveller” Hahaha…..
November 11, 2015 @ 5:44 pm
No need to apologize Robby. Frankly, I’m just flattered Robby Turner is reading my website. I can’t say how much I’ve respected your work for years, and what a direct impact you’ve had in what is happening right now with the success of Chris Stapleton and many others. The players and producers never receive their due credit, but their impact on the music is just as vital. To be able to go in there and cut all of these songs live is the reason “Traveller” resonated with so many people like it has. This is a victory for so many folks beyond Chris Stapleton.
November 12, 2015 @ 8:01 am
My thoughts exactly, “holy shit, Robby Turner is commenting on a site that I read/comment on regularly”.
Much love for your past and future work, man!
November 11, 2015 @ 12:47 pm
Two of Merle Haggard’s last #1’s were Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star and That’s the Way Love Goes. They’re definitely less “country” than most of his other stuff, and less so than pretty much anything on Traveller. Are these idiots gonna ever go after Merle? Hell no. So why are they going after Chris Stapleton like he’s part of the problem? Just because you’re poor, you consider everything that’s not indebted to Waylon fuckin’ watasha Jennings sissy pop, and you may or may not have a Hank3 skeleton tattoo on your back doesn’t mean you’re not a hipster. Chris Stapleton is a country-as-shit artist and if you can’t be happy for his success then you’re no better than the asshole Sam Hunt fangirls who aren’t happy either becuase both of you can’t do anything but bitch and moan when you don’t get your own narrow way.
November 13, 2015 @ 12:52 am
Just dropping in to add an “Amen”
November 11, 2015 @ 12:49 pm
When I talked to Chris two years ago, he was very honest about his career and songwriting…he even admitted he Did plenty of ” much ally tribal things”…but as a songwriter trying to make a living he knew he had to write for the “current music culture” and try to “fit the ears of the listeners” . But he seemed to have a distaste for some of it…which is why he focused on his own material…
And as a performer, we tend to evolve into our own skin…eventually….
November 11, 2015 @ 1:17 pm
“He Wrote Terrible Pop Country Songs for Bad Country Stars”
– For the airplay he got, anybody would write what he wrote.
“Chris Stapleton Isn”™t Traditional Country”
– ‘Country music isn”™t a formula, it is a feeling’
“Just Wait, He”™ll Be Cutting Pop Songs Soon Enough”
– And I won’t listen to them. Or I might. If they’re good.
“Oh Great, Now Everyone Will Be Making ”˜Traditional”™ Country’”
– That’s my worry. Low quality copycats. Ugh!
“Chris Stapleton Didn”™t Get to the Top The Right Way”
– Is anybody knowledgeable really saying that?
“The CMA”™s Were Rigged. It Means Nothing”
– I can’t believe they didn’t know what they were doing. They are feeling out a replacement for Metro-bro, IMHO. Or, something to go side-by-side WITH Metro-bro.
“He”™s No Country Music Savior”
I don’t think ‘they’ see Sam Hunt et al for the long term. So why not generate all this buzz about somebody who after all IS a Nashville insider?
November 11, 2015 @ 1:18 pm
Stapleton is the James “Buster” Douglas of country music today. He was a sparing partner for the country music equivalent of boxers higher up the food chain for a long time, and when Nashville reluctantly gave him a shot, he knocked out the champ[s]. Stapleton isn’t the greatest country singer/musician/songwriter of all time,; it’s not his job. All he has to do is upset the status quo, and he’s done that.
November 11, 2015 @ 1:21 pm
To me, it is about where he goes from here.
He was able to take advantage of some connections and get the album made and out. I don’t fault him.
It is a good album (Opinions will decide if it is great or not) He is good for country music.
I am just curious about the future.
I’ve seen him live. Musically he is good. The songs and the voice.. He isn’t really a dynamic performer though in terms of presentation and performance.
I am just not sure about his potential for growth and staying power. He may be at the pinnacle right now.
But hell, keep making good albums and I don’t think he is going to worry about living paycheck to paycheck.
If you are in the position to keep your integrity and not worry about the dollar, I like those that stay true to their path.
That is one of the reasons I am so down on ZBB.
Putting aside being a true musician and songwriter for greed and selling out is the worst IMO.
All this goes in line with the other conversations like Band Perry, etc.
it is also funny how the Eric Church conversations fit into this.. He seems to be going about things the right way and keeping that balance (like him or hate him).
Bigfoot is Real (AKA Progressive Fascist Rat)
November 11, 2015 @ 1:30 pm
Well if nothing else he has been great for the comment sections for the last few days…
November 11, 2015 @ 1:32 pm
Normally I hate unfounded tabloid nonsense, but I came across something y’all gotta hear. Apparently Miranda Lambert and Sam Hunt have been flirting a lot. Say it ain’t so! That would result in a dimensional anomaly that would cause the catastrophic annihaltion of the entire universe!
November 11, 2015 @ 1:55 pm
Oh snap. Rebound. Show Blake she can land a young one.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:57 pm
But Sam is the #1 least country and worst offender of everybody! As far as drawing country fans’ ire, she is jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I rhymed:)
Chris Lewis "Louie"
November 11, 2015 @ 2:00 pm
Did anyone just see that Timberlake just released the song he performed on the CMA’s as a single to country radio? I like Timberlake but that doesn’t belong on country radio in my opinion. It’s a good song but not country.
November 11, 2015 @ 3:07 pm
Tell it to David Fanning who covered it last year and did a great job of it. Only hit #58 I think, but I knew the song from him, not Timberlake.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:03 pm
I haven’t ever faulted him much for the bro-country songs. I mean, if you’re a prolific songwriter, you’re going to have some duds. Just so happens, his trash has been treasure for less talented artists. And Stapleton has gotten paid in the process. Hell, I call that a win-win. Also, I actually think he could make “Crash and Burn” a pretty cool song if he cut it himself.
Besides, if you’re going to make a living as a songwriter, you gotta write songs that popular artists are actually going to cut.
November 11, 2015 @ 4:49 pm
You have to have a variety and a great catalogue. Write songs to fit in different time periods and trends. Hope to be ahead. You have to also have a great team pushing your cuts to the artists. 90% of what they write will never get cut. That’s where the good or great stuff just may lie. Whether he keeps it for himself or the song never sees the light of day. The point is that the songs are out there, he can’t choose what others want to take.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:15 pm
Well said, Trigger. I think this is a well balanced article addressing the criticisms coming from the hardcore country purist camp, some of which are completely over the top, unfair, or ridiculous in my opinion. Unfortunately, I do think some people will use the title of the article as ammunition against you that you are the one calling out Chris Stapleton, or setting him up as a savior, or something. We all know people often react to the headline of an article rather than engaging with its actual content, as I’m sure you of all people are well aware at this point.
My only quibble with the content of the article is that, as Robby Turner stated above, I think there’s plenty of great steel guitar throughout the record. There’s a lot of good Mickey Rapheal harmonica too, as well as mandolin on “More of You.”
November 11, 2015 @ 3:45 pm
People made wild-eyed assumptions that I was proclaiming Sturgill Simpson as the country music savior when I was doing nothing of the sort, even going out of their way to write entire articles about it, and the same thing is going on with Chris Stapleton. If you don’t believe me, go read this:
The entire tagline is false. This is a complete shot across the bow of Saving Country Music. I’m gonna love ripping that bullshit apart when I get a chance.
November 11, 2015 @ 6:33 pm
I’m sure I speak for many readers when I say, we hope you get a chance.
November 12, 2015 @ 7:25 am
For those keeping score at home with your Insecure Elitist Country Music Fan Membership Kit, that makes Stapleton at least the third artist in a year (it”™s getting more difficult to keep track) to be crowned the Musical Messiah by the vocal minority who hardly claim to give two craps about mainstream country music under normal circumstances. Now, the Nashville stud who has presumably made a small fortune writing songs for ”“ gasp! ”“ Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw, among others, is the chosen one who will finally rescue us fans of “good country music.” Well, Stapleton may very well save at least the keyboard warriors with an inferiority complex who are somehow still without an Internet connection.
Well, isn’t that lovely. A lot of big words and yet still cartoonish. And who are these “keyboard warriors” without an internet connection?
Go get ’em, Trigger.
November 12, 2015 @ 11:10 am
A lot wrong with that article. I was going to post a response this morning, but it was so littered with ‘F’ bombs, I made myself walk away from the whole thing for 24 hours. Some really hurtful and incorrect stuff from someone I considered a colleague.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:25 pm
“He Wrote Terrible Pop Country Songs for Bad Country Stars”
A man has to eat. If you are a songwriter by trade, you must write songs which sell. You can’t expect anything else from anyone.
“Chris Stapleton Isn”™t Traditional Country”
I can’t listen to Traveller and think it is anything other than a country album. Like the man said, “It’s a feeling”.
I don’t know the future and it sure seems like Stapleton paid his musical dues. I’m going to go listen to the record again and just enjoy the music.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:25 pm
By the way, for anyone interested in hearing Stapleton perform straight down the middle traditional country, you might get a kick out of this:
November 11, 2015 @ 2:34 pm
You guys need to stop sucking sellout Stapleton’s dick.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:51 pm
Are you for real or are your comments on these Chris Stapleton articles your idea of some kind of performance art?
November 12, 2015 @ 7:00 pm
I’m not joking. Just spreading the truth to a world that likes to follow false hope.
November 12, 2015 @ 7:12 pm
Offer something useful to the discussion, or go find a YouTube comment section to haunt. Final warning.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:52 pm
TROLL IN THE DUNGEON!!!
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 2:34 pm
It is worth mentioning that Stapleton’s intersection of rock, blues, folk and country is pretty much exactly my sweet spot.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:56 pm
That’s the same thing I’m sayin. How can people be against him? The best artists have their own style that doesn’t necessarily fit in a box. Things don’t have to fit in a box…
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 2:58 pm
He’s in that Steve Earle/DBT/Jason Isbell/JTE zone that I absolutely love.
November 11, 2015 @ 3:02 pm
Some might even called it……… wait for it… Americana. Well, Americana friendly, at least. I bet you the album will be fairly highly ranked in the No Depression Reader’s Poll.
Cool Lester Smooth
November 11, 2015 @ 3:17 pm
Eh, Americana is just what NPR people call the country they like, haha.
November 12, 2015 @ 8:29 am
For me, Americana is the successor term to Alt-Country, which I identify with the old No Depression print magazine. I never say “I listen to Americana music”, because that sounds somewhat contrived to me. A reader on the No Depression website once wrote that when he says likes “Americana music”, it’s like he’s lying about something, but he doesn’t know what. Still, the term is useful to me, because a lot of the artists I love are tagged with it, and some even embrace it (e.g., Isbell, Jim Lauderdale, Ray Wylie Hubbard). So, if some music artist I don’t know is tagged with the Americana label, there’s a chance that I might like them..
November 13, 2015 @ 10:11 am
Bluegrass, country, roots, alt-country, and all the other sub genre’s all fit under the Americana banner for me but I also don’t love it as a descriptor. When people ask what I like I just tell ’em good music.
The CMT’s were really good for the more mainstream leaning people to get exposed to artists like Chris. I’ve had a few friends and relatives ask me if knew his music (they have driven in my car so they kids of know my tastes). I pointed them in the right direction and said have fun.
Hell, my wife loves Chris’s music but she also really digs Lady Antebelllum. As long as I get to pick the music in the car life is good.
November 13, 2015 @ 10:04 am
I totally agree with youon this. Chris Stapleton is so right there in my wheelhouse. I love the sound of this album just as I did his time with The SteelDrivers, Folks get far too concernted with labels these days and miss out on the sounds, I can’t personally get behind a lot of today’s hit country in much the same way I don’t like too much straight ahead rock of late. I just want to hear good music and Traveler most definitely fits that bill. Good for him and good for us,
Brian W. Roach
November 11, 2015 @ 2:39 pm
I think Chris Stapleton is an AWESOME talent.
About two years ago, I was tired of all the stuff being played on the Radio. So, I went to Pandora, my library, and ITunes, looking for music I would and could actually like.
I found The Drive By Truckers, Blackberry Smoke, Canadian Ragweed, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Steel Drivers and ALOT of Texas Red Dirt Music.
(Dolly Shine….check them out on ITunes. Great Band)
Chris Stapleton may not be traditional country, but TRAVELER is a FANTASTIC ALBUM, and I am HAPPY for him. Finally, something with substance, and a Great Voice to go with it.
November 11, 2015 @ 2:52 pm
country music doesn’t need a savior. it needs it’s fans to stop being stupid.
November 11, 2015 @ 3:43 pm
What we need is Pokey.. That’s right Pokey. Why? Because he is pokey.
November 11, 2015 @ 3:55 pm
I loved the album “Traveller” and think Stapleton’s success is a win for the good guys.BUT has anyone considered Dave Cobb might be the country music savior.
November 11, 2015 @ 4:54 pm
I went to see a band last night that I had never heard of for two reasons 1) my friend asked me to go and she likes indie country. I ask people to check out stuff all the time so I might as well return the favor. 2) the album was produced by dave Cobb.
Enjoyed myself a lot. Didn’t even know a word. Band was called honey honey.
November 12, 2015 @ 8:07 am
Honeyhoney is pretty rad. Heard them on the Rogan podcast a couple years back. How was the show?
November 11, 2015 @ 4:13 pm
Jamey Johnson sang traditional country and he wrote crappy country songs in the past like Chris Stapleton is doing but they are keeping their traditional country among themselves.
November 11, 2015 @ 5:45 pm
It’s amazing how parallel the stories of Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapleton are.
November 12, 2015 @ 11:40 am
Two major differences:
1) Jamey’s breakthrough album was much more traditional country and less accepted by general public. Many young adults (mid 20’s and younger (even females)) areloving Traveler. Let’s face it, “fire away”, “parachute”, a bluesy “Tennessee Whiskey” and “When the Stars Come Out” are much more appealing to the mainstream than “High Cost Of Living”, “Angel”, or “Between Jennings and Jones”. Jamey’s breakthrough album had darker, sadder, grittier lyrics and a more traditional sound. Traveler isn’t as traditional and isn’t as dark and gritty. It’s better suited for the mainstream. I’ve had numerous 20 year old girls come up to me bragging about their new favorite country singer, Chris Stapleton. These same people won’t get into “That Lonesome Song”. Its too sad, too dark, too traditional.
2) Stapleton is better accepted in the industry than Jamey. Pretty much everyone likes Chris Stapleton. The popular mainstream singers like him, songwriters in the industry like him, etc.. He’s on pretty much good terms with everyone. On the other hand, Jamey was more of an outsider. He didn’t seem to do as good of a job as Chris as developing and maintaining relationships in the industry. Chris comes off as a friendlier, more outspoken type of guy.
November 13, 2015 @ 8:36 am
Plus, he has written plenty of hits for superstars. That never hurts.
Ken Morton, Jr.
November 11, 2015 @ 4:16 pm
I’ve had the true blessing of hearing a large collection of demos he’s cut as part of his publishing deal. There’s at least three more “Traveler’s” in the few dozen songs I was able to listen to. They’re authentic, engaging and smart as hell. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
November 11, 2015 @ 5:12 pm
In his one-man show, Garth gave a great deal of credit for the success of the “Class of ’89” to an immediate predecessor – Randy Travis. Garth said that the whole Country World was in danger of spinning off the Pop-Music cliff until Randy came in and drove everything back to the more Country side of things, and allowed himself, Clint Black, Alan Jackson, and all the others to roll in and blow up.
Whatta ya think? Think Stapleton can be THAT kind of catalyst?
November 11, 2015 @ 5:39 pm
See, this is where some folks are getting into trouble. The day after the CMA’s, I specifically got challenged from people saying “Chris Stapleton is not the next Randy Travis.” Nobody will be the next Randy Travis, just like nobody will be the next Waylon Jennings. That was 25 years ago. Everything has completely changed. Chris Stapleton will be the next Chris Stapleton, and that’s all we should ask of him. Now, could he enact a change similar to what Randy Travis did, and usher in a new era with more traditional country music? Sure he could. I hope he does. I’d even go as far as to predict he will. But we won’t be able to make that judgement call until years from now when we can look back at the puzzle when all the pieces are in place.
November 11, 2015 @ 5:43 pm
I would love for Chris to share the popularity. Specifically, I would like to see him collaborate with Jamey Johnson and Josh Turner. They have fallen off and need to be brought back into the spotlight. They’ve got the beards to do it too.
November 13, 2015 @ 8:39 am
I don’t think they fall off in the traditional scene, their genre did just a switcheroo on them.
November 11, 2015 @ 5:45 pm
Chris Stapleton will be a superstar within a year or two.
November 11, 2015 @ 7:16 pm
For me personally, I really don’t care at all that Chris wrote a few bad songs. Traveller is so good and enjoyable that I will just ignore the bad songs. As to whether he’s authentically country, I really don’t care. I just know he’s good. All this “Is he country enough?” talk is really tedious. I’m probably a little more casual about the whole thing than many who come to website, but thats just me.
November 11, 2015 @ 8:56 pm
First off, ya can’t something that doesn’t want to be saved. Second, where the hell is Jamey freakin Johnson? He had the puck on his stick in front of the net then just skated off the ice into oblivion. (Sorry I just watched the Penguins beat the Canadiens so I’ve got hockey on the brain)
Stapleton is exponentially better than nearly all the rest of the dog shit out there in the mainstream world but I feel like people are way to excited over this dude. I guess I get it but I ain’t gonna hold my breath and it sure as hell ain’t enough to get me to start listening to the local country station again.
November 12, 2015 @ 5:30 am
Holy shit talk about overthinking something.
Let’s keep finding and covering music.
Stapeltons win is a great story. He is what he is, a mainstream southern rock – bluesy country singer songwriter that has written as many bro songs as his own…..he did so probably to support himself at the time. Once he had some success he went and did his own thing. Those are the facts. I say good for him.
November 12, 2015 @ 11:14 am
It’s unfortunate that an article like this is necessary, but I really had no other choice but to post it. Basically, the assumptions out there were so pervasive and caustic, something had to be said.
November 12, 2015 @ 8:46 am
Trig, I’m not sure if you caught on to this, I haven’t seen you write about it and usually you will comment on effects like this, but FGL put off putting out their new music and decided to cut one more single off their album and it would seem to be a single aimed differently than their past ones on it besides Dirt obviously. Is this a coincidence or is there any chance of connection between the CMA’s and this decision? Or maybe The Band Perry flop and delay? I know Borschetta is always in the loop but the Stapleton Show seemed to come out of left field even though the show itself was billed with a different direction than recent years.
November 12, 2015 @ 10:59 am
I think Florida Georgia Line is at a serious precipice at the moment, and if I wasn’t so busy trying to keep up with Stapleton and other stuff, I’d already written about this. But I think they see the writing on the wall, and if they don’t come out with a record with significantly more substance, they’re going to flop. I DO think you see this from “Confession” being released. I don;t think they expect it to do great, but they hope it will tide listeners over while they retool the new album. Frankly, I still think “Anything Goes” was a big mistake. It just took a while for it to reveal itself as one. It was too much in the same direction. Florida Georgia Line is becoming a relic real fast.
November 12, 2015 @ 11:56 am
Watching that performance, you could see it on not only the faces of their contemporaries, but on the faces of FGL themselves – ‘this shit is done.’ Even at the end when Tyler said “Thank you, guys” … it was more like they were talking to a room where they were looking for acceptance, not one where they have the confidence of an all-time sales record at their back.
They’re goofy and ridiculous, and their songs are horrendous … but I don’t think they’re dumb. They struck gold in a climate that was looking for party songs and mindless entertainment…and seeing the reception that Stapleton got compared to their own, probably scares the shit out of them.
November 12, 2015 @ 12:17 pm
Yes, what may save them from becoming the next Nickelback is that fact that they at least seem aware enough of what’s going on, or at least their handlers are and they’re listening. Also, Chase Rice (who co-wrote “Cruise”) has been saying a lot of similar things lately about how his old material is shallow, and wait until you hear the new stuff. An ill wind is blowing for them if they don’t change.
November 12, 2015 @ 2:39 pm
Those statements by Chase Rice kill me. He just released that album lol. You have your whole life to prepare your first album and you’re looking at a tough road when you only put out 2 singles off it and think you already need to reinvent yourself.
November 12, 2015 @ 2:51 pm
Stapleton’s songwriting isn’t so deep as to be inaccessible to the majority. He’s no Slaid Cleaves, Robbie Fulks, or James McMurtry. However, if Stapleton’s success leads to more artists like him him making it in the mainstream, then the overall appeal of country music is likely to narrow. The idiots who like bro country, pop tart country, etc. will probably just go back to the simple, moronic pop and hip hop music from whence they came. With those considerations, I don’t think that the decision makers would want that, so it is unlikely that Stapleton’s success will usher in a new era of better popular country music.
November 12, 2015 @ 9:51 am
“Others with a more selfish perspective don”™t ever want to see true country music become accepted in the mainstream because they”™ve built their entire identities around being oppressed as a traditional country fan.”
I’m guilty as charged… at least some of the time.
November 12, 2015 @ 10:09 am
This is what happens when people try to make subjective taste into a moral issue, or make edictal proclamations about it. It’s just the marketplace for pete’s sake, and damn it, I’m tired of the implication that I should second-guess myself for NOT flipping through radio stations and scrolling through iTunes as if I were a minuteman on patrol.
November 12, 2015 @ 10:31 am
Do some people really think Chris Stapleton is a country music savior? Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Traveller. I bought it the day it was released. I’ve absolutely loved Stapleton’s music since the first Steeldrivers album. However, I fail to see how Traveller is even in the same conversation of songwriting caliber and quality as an album like Something More Than Free. In all honesty, I was expecting a little more from Chris, considering the outstanding and mind-blowing work he’s done in the past. (This is all just my own dumb opinion).
Yes, Traveller is certainly more “country” sounding, and it gathered much more widespread traction in the mainstream than Isbell’s album, especially after the CMA wins. However, as far as a cohesive album and truly authentic and compelling songwriting goes, Traveller doesn’t hold a candle to Something More Than Free in this listener’s opinion.
All I’m asking is for certain traditional country fans to pump the brakes a little bit before anointing Stapleton the most talented/end all/conqueror riding in on a white horse to save country music. There are quite a number of songwriters I find to be far more talented (Sturgill and Isbell included). I really appreciate that SCM can cover this phenomenon without going overboard in excitement and expectations, but also without being overly cynical. I’m trying to have the same attitude myself.
November 12, 2015 @ 10:50 am
For every person I have seen saying Chris Stapleton is a “country music savior,” I’ve seen 20 complaining about it, and then using that fact that some people are calling him a “savior” to tear his music apart. That is why it is inherently unfair to EVER lump this distinction on anyone. I have expressly gone out of my way to say he is NOT a savior, yet I have been specifically attacked for that very thing, and not just on Facebook, but in in-depth articles in major periodicals.
That’s why I made the title of this article what it is, and went out of my way, yet again, to explain why calling Stapleton a “savior” is helpful to nobody. Let’s not assume this is what people are doing, just because they like his music, and they’re happy he’s finding some success.
November 12, 2015 @ 11:10 am
Well said, and point taken. In light of his CMA awards and record sales, I’m just trying to find the proper balance between overly high expectations and cynicism for what it means for the future of country music.
Eric Church Drops a Doozy; New Peter Cooper Record Out Tomorrow; 2016 Ameripolitan Awards Nominees | Country California
November 12, 2015 @ 11:51 am
[…] Country Music”™s Trigger led a tour of “The Case Against Chris Stapleton As Country Music”™s Savior,” concluding that some people are entirely too mistrustful of actual good things that come their […]
The Justin Bieber-One Direction Race Is Too Close To Call - Stereogum
November 12, 2015 @ 1:10 pm
[…] Not everyone is happy about Stapleton’s ascent, though. Relatedly, in the wake of burning down the CMAs, Justin Timberlake has submitted “Drink You Away” to country radio and may be plotting a crossover into the genre. But before we pull our own crossover into the singles section, there are a few more top-10 debuts on the albums chart: Now 56 at #4 with 58,000, the limp We Love Disney comp at #8 with 31,000, and Def Leppard’s Def Leppard at #10 with 30,000. […]
November 12, 2015 @ 7:05 pm
Real Country Music ended with Alan Jackson. Alan is the only artist today putting out music with a melody and lyrics that embody what Real Country Music meant for 70 years.
When he stops, not even the Grand Ole Opry will be able to produce.
Real Country Music will be gone.
November 13, 2015 @ 8:43 am
I like Alan Jackson, because the man isn’t afraid to place a silly song next to a serious song on his albums. Real country music encompasses both themes. Some real country music singers are too dark and gritty all the time. Life isn’t like that.
November 12, 2015 @ 7:27 pm
Real Country Music ended with Alan Jackson. Alan is the only one who has been releasing musings with a real melody and lyrics that embody what Real Country Music meant for the last 70 years.
When he stops, not even the Grand Ole Opry will be able to survive. Today the Opry shows are filled with few decent new Real Country Music singers who will never be around next month and dwindling old timers trying to maintain their songs, no thanks to Country radio who don”™t and won’t support them at all.
Remember Real Country Music did maintain their topics and basic three chord melodies for 70 years and could continue if artists and songwriters would sing and write the simple easy to sing and remember songs those type of songs.
I wish they would, but I doubt country radio and profit only labels will ever allow it.
Meanwhile, thank you Alan Jackson for continuing on.
November 12, 2015 @ 7:38 pm
MERLE HAGGARD, WILLIE NELSON, CONNIE SMITH, MARTY STUART, RICKY SKAGGS, JESSE McREYNOLDS, BOBBY OSBORNE, BILL ANDERSON, JOHN CONLEE and a few others, forgive me for not mentioning you as keeping Real Country Music going.
I love and support you all.
The Hillbilly Muslim
November 20, 2015 @ 10:15 am
Brilliant article! Not a big fan of his but its a step in the right direction.
November 20, 2015 @ 10:40 am
Call it what you will but not since Killin Time came out have I listened to an album all the way through as many times as I have, as I have with Traveller and Sturgill’s albums. Both Stapleton and Sturgill have brought me back to a time when the songs meant something and the writer’s took their time in crafting their work.
November 20, 2015 @ 1:32 pm
I used to hate Forever and Ever Amen by Randy Travis. Then I saw Don Schlitz play it at the Bluebird Cafe and instantly fell in love with the song. That being said, I wouldn’t mind hearing Chris play those bro-country songs he’s getting slammed for writing. We all have to make a living, and the writer’s interpretation is always better, IMO. I commend him for having a career in the business before, and I’m not about to slam him now. Traveler is a great album, period. That’s all anyone really needs to know, soccer moms included.
December 3, 2015 @ 7:32 pm
Thank heavens for an artist that doesn’t make my ears and soul bleed. The garbage that has flowed in the guise of music has been distressing, the formulaic, hyper compressed; lacking artist identity drivel has left us performing golden oldies to supplement our own compositions. May more Chris Stapletons emerge and restore Country Music to it’s Golden Days, the days of the Hag, Jennings, Nelson,Cash, Tillis, Price, Owens, Faaron Young, Carl Perkins, Dolly, Loretta, Reba, EmmyLou, Jesse, Clint Black, folks of that calibre. Where you don’t have to wait to hear or read the credits to know who’s singing.
January 24, 2016 @ 11:18 am
Good Article. I think my problem is that he just isn’t all that good. Period. He is boring, his songs are boring.
Hank Jr from the 70s was fun, Hank III today makes the best country music.
Why are we not talking about Whitey Morgan at all?
Sturgill Simpson is good but again kind of boring.
January 24, 2016 @ 11:34 am
Well, Whitey was just named my Artist of the Year, so nobody’s overlooking him here:
January 24, 2016 @ 11:52 am
Nice! I think I need to spend more time hanging out here.
Thanks for clarifying!
January 24, 2016 @ 11:21 am
Florida Georgia line is too Country what Warrent was to Heavy Metal, the last gasp. They are so bad it’s unbelievable. They don’t piss me off as much as the people who actually like that shit. Makes me want to pack up my shit and head for another country. Of course I won’t so I wait and wait for FGL to go the fuck away.
March 18, 2016 @ 12:58 pm
Whether he is considered a savior or not, I find Stapleton’s sound a refreshing relief from the current wave of what I call “bubblegum country”. I’ll be looking forward to more! Agree that time will tell if he bends to what the mainstream wants.
March 31, 2016 @ 6:41 pm
he sucks ,gonna ruin country at its most popular peak in us history . country was HOT ! he makes it sound old gross and depressing (yes a few people like that,but a few people cut themselves too)
May 31, 2016 @ 9:12 pm
Lol. Somebody’s got a wicked case of the envy. Just listen to what you like. Why do you even care what the CMA does? Seriously? If you were sincere about your stance on “traditional country music,” you wouldn’t even acknowledge their presence, or care what the popular opinion of country music is. Simply put, you desire to be what the popular opinion of country music is. And that’s the exact opposite of what you claim to represent. Just enjoy your music, that isn’t relevant to the majority that you claim to be irrelevant. Do you think that people don’t pick up on your true motives. You’re only deceiving yourself. Genuine music doesn’t encore the resentment of other people preference of music.
May 31, 2016 @ 9:24 pm
What is my stance on “traditional country music” Brian Kingsley? Tell me. I’m interested to know.
I believe that everyone has a right to good music, and that is why I care about what the popular opinion of country music is. Nowhere have I endorsed the CMA, but trying to say the CMA is irrelevant is the equivalent to a 2-year-old covering his eyes and thinking he disappears from the world.
March 22, 2017 @ 9:07 am
He also has copied many melodies such as Etta James, “I will go blind ..: to his Tennessee Whiskey .. Listen to both and tell me what you think.
March 22, 2017 @ 11:57 am
THERE ARE NO TRUE SAVIORS FOR COUNTRY & WESTERN MUSIC. ONLY THE DIE-HARD C&W FANS CAN ACTUALLY SAVE THE GENRE!
FIRST THEY HAVE TO QUIT BUYING THAT SHIT THAT NASHVILLE PUTS OUT ON A REGULAR BASIS. I AM OLD SCHOOL C&W AND HAVE OVER 50 YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY. I PERFORMED, PLAYED AND PRODUCED C&W WHEN IT HAD A HEART.
THERE IS A CRY ON THE HORIZON, “THE DEATH OF COUNTRY & WESTERN MUSIC”, A TOPIC GARNERING OVER 800,000,000 RESULTS ON GOOGLE ALONE WITH SURGES ON THE DEATHS OF TEXAS LEGENDS GEORGE JONES AND RAY PRICE AS THE FRIENDS AND FANS OF C&W CHAT, TEXT, TWEET, BLOG, POST AND PEN THEIR DISENCHANTMENT WITH THE NASHVILLE MUSIC MONGRELS EFFORTS TO END THE SOVEREIGNTY OF C&W MUSIC FANS AROUND THE WORLD AND TURN THE PEOPLE’S MUSIC INTO SOMETHING OF LEGAL TENDER FOR CONGLOMERATES, ARTISTS, AND CEO’S WHO CARE LITTLE FOR THE MUSIC, OR THE PEOPLE AND THE HISTORY, HERITAGE, CULTURE OR PLACE OF ORIGIN. THAT PLACE IS TEXAS AND IF COUNTRY & WESTERN MUSIC MUST DIE, LET IT REST IN PEACE IN TEXAS WHERE IT IS PART OF THE TEXAS WAY OF LIFE AND PART OF TEXAS MUSIC HISTORY–OVER 500 YEARS IN THE MAKING!
I PLACE THIS IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE OF ITS IMPORTANCE TO ME. I AM TRYING TO SAVE A PIECE OF C&W MUSIGOLD WITH OVER 60 YEARS OF MUSIC PENNED, PLAYED, PERFORMED, PRODUCED AND PRESENTED BY SOME OF NASHVILLE AND TEXAS’ MUSIC LEGENDS, WRITERS, PERFORMERS, MUSICIANS AND CONTRIBUTORS WHO TRULY MADE C&W A GLOBAL SUCCESS AND THE FOUNDATION IT CREATED FOR POP, ROCK, SOUTHERN ROCK AND RAP SINGERS THAT NEEDED A CRUTCH IN THEIR MUSIC CAREERS. NASHVILLE, THE PROTECTOR OF C&W MUSIC, SAW MORE GOLD IN THEIR FASCINATION OF THE TRUE TEXAS AMERICAN MUSIC TRADITION AND ART FORM AND HUNG IT OUT TO DRY AND FACE AN INOPPORTUNE NASHVILLE DEATH LIKE MANY OF ITS CONTRIBUTORS.
August 4, 2017 @ 11:37 pm
Mo Pitney…THAT’S REAL COUNTRY!!!
January 1, 2018 @ 8:26 pm
He saved the best for him self ,haters
January 1, 2018 @ 8:34 pm
I grew up in texas,i love old coutry this modern popshit is not for me anyone with ears knowes chris has talent to become an icon.hope the country pop has a quick death.
April 12, 2018 @ 10:14 am
Bottom line is alot of people love Chris Stapleton. That is why he is selling
Records and winning awards. He is talented with his guitar playing and
That voice. He amazes me with that voice that has the blues , country, and
R & B. He can play anything. He also is a very nice guy who has paid his dues.
There is no “pure” country anymore. Being from Tennessee I did not know
Country needed saving. It is the biggest thing going right now. I don’t like
Alot of what is being put out , but there is something for everyone. Chris is
Going to be around for a long time because he is talented , not because of
What he looks like.
May 27, 2018 @ 7:30 am
Whoever wrote this article is the dumbest human being that’s ever walked this earth……I honest hope that you don’t reproduce. This article is the epitome of ignorance
July 10, 2018 @ 3:40 pm
Here’s my real beef with Chris Stapleton and a lot of new artists. There are some songs which, when originally recorded, became instant classics. They should not be recorded by anyone else; that would take away the magic. Now, he might have thought that covering ‘ Tennessee Whiskey ‘ was a tribute, or a way of introducing classic songs to a younger generation. However, it was a bomb. I am one of countless George Jones fans, and I was seriously underwhelmed. His recent cover of a Merle Haggard song was equally lackluster. Am I biased? Certainly. And I’ll happily admit it. But, there’s my opinion. You’re free to try to change my mind, or try to get me to educate myself on newer artists.
September 8, 2018 @ 10:48 pm
Chris Stapleton has opened a LOT of new ears young and old alike to the music of Sturgill , Cody, Colter and Tyler ,even great bluegrass artists from Billy Strings to Molly Tuttle etc and from there they dig deeper and discover everyone from George Jones and Waylon Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris etc the only reason these people never knew they loved Country music before hearing Chris was because they thought ‘Country’ was the crap being played on radio (i.e. Luke Bryan,Florida Georgia Line etc) he showed them that wasn’t the case, the man has by and large been THE catalyst to bringing droves of new fans to country music,how is that a bad thing?