Chris Stapleton is one of those long-time music industry veterans that not a lot of people have heard of, basically because most of his success to date has been found behind the scenes. Stapleton has penned no less than 150 songs that have been performed on label releases by the likes of George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Adele, Darius Rucker and Brad Paisley, to name a few. As a performer, he has three Grammy nominations to his credit as a member of bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, from whom he parted ways in 2010.
But on his own, Stapleton offers a unique, satisfying blend of country, bluegrass and southern rock, his raspy voice easily crossing the gap between southern drawl and blue-eyed soul. Recently signed to Mercury Nashville, Stapleton debuted his song “What Are You Listening To?” at CMA Fest in June, and officially released it as a single last week. Right off the bat, you can pick up on Stapleton’s masterful songwriting, only now it’s being carried by his own voice. It makes me wonder why we haven’t heard more from him as an artist before now. What. A. Voice. Seriously.
But better late than never. This song tells me this is Chris Stapleton’s time. And I, for one, cannot wait to hear what’s next.
The video below is a live acoustic performance of the song on a Philadelphia radio station; you can pick up the studio version at iTunes. Either way, Chris Stapleton needs to be on your radar.