Last year I had the privilege of interviewing Chris Stapleton for The Relish. I started listening to Stapleton a few years ago, when his was the voice of The Steeldrivers. I quickly turned fan of his voice and songwriting. I went on to learn that I'd been listening to his songs for years and hadn't known it. Some of them I liked, some of them I hated, but he was a Nashville hit-maker.
Stapleton has written some insultingly charmless songs, such as "Drink A Beer" by Luke Brian. But for every Stapleton song I can criticize, there's another I can admire. Like most anyone who hears him, I'm hooked on the power and grit of Stapleton's voice.
Stapleton's music isn't exactly my taste. His solo sound has become a little campy for my ears. A little... Skynard romantic. A little... Dixie deluxe. A little... "Southern music man's starter kit," with glorified descriptions of whiskey, traveling and making "your woman" mad. Nonetheless, I have love for Stapleton. His career has been fascinating to watch. It's impressive to observe the development of a songwriter, who was making it in the indie-country scene, take a step into the mainstream and be so warmly received. It's earned the current condition of country music a bit of a gold star.