Chris Stapleton is the songwriter behind big hits for everyone from George Strait and Kenny Chesney to Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker. He’s also one of the most celebrated singers in the Nashville music community, and now the rest of the world can enjoy Chris’s talent on the brand-new album, Traveller. The title track was written on a trip Chris took with his wife, Morgane, in 2013 following the death of his father.
Chris tells ABC Radio, “My wife had the presence of mind to know that I needed a little head-clearing space. So, she bought me an old Jeep out in Phoenix, Arizona, and we flew out there and drove back across the country in it. Along the way, I wrote that song kind of thinking about life and how we’re all just passing through it.”
Chris’s wife was also instrumental in picking the 14 songs that made the final cut on Traveller. The sound of the album took shape after Chris heard a bit of singer/songwriter Sturgill Simpson‘s critically acclaimed 2014 release, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. That project’s modern take on a vintage country sound led Chris to seek out Sturgill’s producer, Dave Cobb, to work on Traveller.
Speaking of Dave’s work on Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Chris says, “The sound of it was so striking to me. I didn’t know that it was something that could still be done sonically, ’cause we had lost a lot of whatever that is in modernity and technology. So, I really set out to find Dave and I said, ‘I gotta at least meet this guy,’ and go, ‘Hey man, I like the sound of that record.'”
With Dave in the producer’s seat, Chris called on his long-time band members, bass player J.T. Cure and drummer Derek Mixon, to play on Traveller. Chris has been playing with J.T. for two decades, and he says, “It’s a unique thing to get to play music with people that know you that well.”
Chris’s small band is rounded out with Waylon Jennings‘ longtime steel guitar player, Robby Turner, and Willie Nelson‘s harmonica player, Mickey Raphael.
He says of adding those two legendary musicians to the lineup, “I got to have those little tips of the hat to that kind of music kind of quietly infused into the record.”
Chris has an album release show Tuesday night in New York City. Check out ChrisStapleton.com for a full list of tour dates.
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