Tuesday, May 16, 2017


One of the great hopes for country music, Stapleton cleaned up with his debut album Traveller from 2015, going to #1 and winning tons of awards. He was no rookie though, but rather one of Nashville's biggest hit writers, responsible for cuts for Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, you know, all the hats. But here's the difference. They used the non-country, post-Shania pop production. Stapleton on his own is going back to better days, the outlaw sound of Waylon and Willie and the like.

For his second album, Stapleton continued on that classic path. He recorded the album in the famous RCA Studio A in Nashville, founded by Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley. That's the room, in From A Room, and Volume 1 means he has another bunch of tracks to come out later this year from the sessions. This one is a little brief, with just nine songs, but it's still another fine blast of fresh air for the country world. Stapleton proud of his twang, as a good Kentucky son of a coal miner should be, and he sounds like a real country singer. The music is just rough enough to let us know is about feel and substance, not the trends. You get the feeling he can knock out these songs one a day, and has lots of great music to make now that he's an artist in his own right.

Broken Halos is a hardy opener, a country-rock anthem that Mellencamp and even Springsteen might drool over. Surprisingly for a prolific writer, he drops a cover version in, with a great version of the Willie Nelson hit Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning, which once again lets you know where he's coming from. Judging by the reaction to Stapleton's music so far, a lot of people like where he's taking country.

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