Chris Stapleton on Traveller and Future Musical Contributions

Singer-Songwriter Will Be Honored During 2016 Artists of the Year Special Airing Thursday

Editor’s note: Chris Stapleton is among the honorees at the 2016 CMT Artists of the Year special premiering Thursday (Oct. 20) at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

On the night of Jan. 22, 2015, when Chris Stapleton unveiled his solo debut album Traveller at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, everyone there immediately regarded the collection as a major contribution to country music. However, no one could have predicted the commercial success that would follow.

That evening, invited media and members Music Row elite were asked to check their cell phones at the door. Banks of headphones all around the studio offered a more intimate first listen of the new music. Anderson East, Nashville songstress Ruby Amanfu and Grammy-award winning hitmaker Dan Wilson were there to support their friend, Stapleton, who quietly visited with folks around the hall and in the control room.

Then after song 13 — “Outlaw State of Mind” — slowly faded out, Stapleton asked everyone to gather around a bass, electric guitar and a drum set to do something few artists ever reveal so directly. He pulled back the curtain on his own creative process and recorded the closer for “Sometimes I Cry” right there — live-to-tape — in front of everyone.

One take, and that was it.

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