While Maren Morris was getting ready to close the Hero Tour on Wednesday (April 5) at Nashville's Cannery Ballroom, Chris Stapleton and Dave Cobb hosted an invitation-only preview of his next album From a Room: Volume 1 at Studio A, one of two studios once operated by RCA Records on Music Row. The collection will be released on May 5.
The common ground is that both Morris and Stapleton are part of a class of singer-songwriters who have found success in mainstream country while still creating something different every time they go into the studio to record.
That point was proven true as the nine songs on From a Room: Volume 1 blared over two speakers in the main tracking room at RCA A. Before hitting playback, Stapleton mentioned a Volume 2 is set for release in December.
The title gets its name from the historic facility where Stapleton tracked the new music during the winter of 2016-17. His band in the studio were Cobb on acoustic guitar, wife Morgane Stapleton on harmony vocals, as well as longtime band members J.T. Cure on bass and Derek Mixon on drums. The album also features Mickey Raphael on harmonica, Robby Turner on pedal steel guitar and Mike Webb on keysboards.
Several moments on Volume 1 showcase Stapleton as a true bluesman delivering guitar solos and vocal performances that are only authentic to him. Fans of his work with Southern rock's Jompson Brothers will not be surprised by this direction in sound.
Stapleton co-wrote all of the songs except track two, "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning," a song by Gary P. Nunn and Donna Sioux Farar that Willie Nelson recorded for 1982's Always on My Mind album. Nunn and other co-writers, including hit-makers Craig Wiseman, Kendall Marvel, Tim James and bluegrass musician Shawn Camp, were in the room while the music played.
When there was an opportunity, every song was received with applause but his vocal performance on the lead single "Either Way" got the biggest reaction from the room. Everyone present went pin-drop silent as the striking solo acoustic ballad about the end of a relationship played back.
Volume 1's answer to Traveller's "Might as Well Get Stoned" is "Them Stems," another bluesy number about a stoner with a dire need to restock his marijuana stash. On "I Was Wrong," Stapleton touches on vocal phrasing that's reminiscent of soul legend Al Green. Other highlights include "Second One to Know," which Stapleton premiered at Sunday's (April 2) 52nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards
Tickets for seven new shows on Stapleton's All-American Road Show go on sale Friday (April 7). Morris, Brothers Osborne, Brent Cobb, Lucie Silvas, Anderson East, Margo Price and Marty Stuart will open on select dates. Pre-orders for From a Room: Volume 1 are available now.
Here is a complete track listing for From a Room: Volume 1:
1. "Broken Halos" (Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson)
2. "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning" (Gary P. Nunn and Donna Sioux Farar)
3. "Second One to Know" (Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson)
4. "Up to No Good Livin'" (Chris Stapleton and Casey Beathard)
5. "Either Way" (Chris Stapleton, Tim James and Kendall Marvel)
6. "I Was Wrong" (Chris Stapleton and Craig Wiseman)
7. "Without Your Love" (Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson)
8. "Them Stems" (Chris Stapleton, Jimmy Stewart and Shawn Camp)
9. "Death Row" (Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson)