Chris Stapleton has proven that he’s capable writing any kind of hit regardless of genre.
He’s scored No. 1’s with songs recorded by George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Darius Rucker, Josh Turner and Thomas Rhett. He’s racked up more than 170 album cuts with other artists including Adele, Alison Krauss, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton. He’s made Southern rock with the Jompson Brothers and bluegrass with the SteelDrivers.
But after the success of 2015’s Traveller, Chris Stapleton fans were left with one question: What in the world comes next?
Stapleton pretty much asked himself that same question going into record his two-part album, From a Room: Volume 1. Volume 2 is due in December.
The title gets its name from Nashville’s Studio A, one of two recording facilities once operated by RCA Records on Music Row where visionaries like Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette once recorded. Traveller and From a Room were also made there.
“None of these songs are new,” Stapleton said recently of the music on From a Room. “None of these songs were written in the last two years. They all pre-date the last record. They’re all dipping out of the [same] well, much like Traveller was with the exception of ’Traveller’ itself.”
The new music was tracked during the winter of 2016-17 with the same players on Traveller. They are producer Dave Cobb on acoustic guitar, wife Morgane Stapleton on harmony vocals, bassist J.T. Cure on bass, drummer Derek Mixon, harmonica player Mickey Raphael, steel guitarist Robby Turner and keyboardist Mike Webb.
“We take the studio at a very kind of ’What do you feel like doing now?’ kind of way, and that’s what we did this time as well,” Stapleton explained. “It’s like, ’What are you in the mood to do?’
“We very much followed the muse of the room and moment and trying to play songs that we wanted to play.”
The result is a 32 minutes of straight-up country with elements of soul and blues. He covers “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning,” a song written by Gary P. Nunn and Donna Farar and popularized on Nelson’s 1982 album Always on My Mind. Stapleton’s latest single is the acoustic ballad “Either Way,” which originally appeared on Lee Ann Womack’s 2008 album, Call Me Crazy.