Chris Stapleton: Going Beyond the Dreams

The Backstage Q&A After His CMA Wins

If you were glued to the CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 14) like everyone else in country music, you saw a whole lot of Chris Stapleton.

There was his unforgettable performance with his wife Morgane, Maren Morris, Mavis Staples and Marty Stuart on a combination of soul songs: “Friendship,” a Homer Banks and Lester Snell cover from Stapleton’s last album, and “I’ll Take You There,” one of the Staples Singers’ biggest hits from 1972.

And then there were Stapleton’s three other trips to the stage to pick up his CMA Awards. One for male vocalist of the year, and two for his song “Broken Halos”: for song of the year and for single of the year.

According to Stapleton, every time he set foot on the Bridgestone Arena stage, he took it seriously.

“These things are fantastic things to win,” Stapleton told reporters backstage at the end of the night. “But when you get nominated or invited to these kinds of parties, in my estimation, you’ve already won.

“You’ve already gotten to be far beyond anything anybody who’s a musician could ever dream of getting to do. We get to do that every day. We get to live that every day. I’m always genuinely surprised to win anything,” he said, “and I’m always grateful for it.”

The song of the year win — which goes to the songwriters — was especially meaningful for Stapleton because he said he considers himself first and foremost a songwriter. “And I get to do it with a man, Mike Henderson, who is a mentor to me — a lot of things I try to do on electric guitar, or the ways that I try to think lyrically, or the ways I get secret knowledge out of him — to win awards with him means so very much to me that I’m not even sure I can describe it.” He even said it was worth noting that when you look at actual chart performance, there were more worthy songs than his in the category.

“Broken Halos” was up against Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Back Road,” Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert’s “Drowns the Whiskey,” Chris Janson’s “Drunk Girl,” and Dan + Shay’s “Tequila.” And in the single of the year category, he beat out Midland’s “Drinkin’ Problem,” Aldean and Lambert’s “Drowns the Whiskey,” Dan + Shay’s “Tequila,” and Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant to Be.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.