Chris Stapleton has a knack for writing songs that head directly to the top of the country charts. Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer,” Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn,” Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song” and Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More” are a few that he’s co-written.
But he also knows that for every big ol’ radio hit, there is also room for another kind of hit. Those are the ones Stapleton calls “move-the-needle” songs.
In a recent interview with CBS This Morning, he talked about how there’s a place for both kinds of songs in country music.
“When you’re a songwriter, that’s part of your job is to write those songs,” Stapleton said of the radio hits. “But there’s two songs kinds of songs you can have on radio: There’s songs that can be a hit, and there’s songs that move the needle and can be impactful for an artist.”
His advice for writing the latter? Try to be as timeless as you can be.
But he explained why the world is better off when there is a balance of the deep and the not-so-deep country songs.
“We need the hits, because they pay for the move-the-needle songs. And they’re all part of the same wheel,” he said. “Everybody likes to listen to a song because it’s fun, and nobody wants to sit around and listen to ’I-really-have-to-analyze-these-lyrics’ songs all the time.
“I don’t see myself as some kind of fightin’-the-good-fight guy. But I always feel like if you don’t like one kind of music or the other, it’s just not for you. I’m only worried about what I’m doing or how I present music. I just try to do things I want to listen to, and I think that’s what everybody else is try doing, too.”
Stapleton’s major label debut album Traveller has sold 2 million copies, so he must be on to something. And his new one, From a Room: Volume 1, has already sold more than 200,000 copies in its first week of release to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart.