Chris Stapleton Talks Debut Album 'Traveller'

(Radio.com) With his debut solo album Traveller, which was released last week, Chris Stapleton is cementing his place in country music. The country singer and songwriter was already well known in music circles for his work in GRAMMY-nominated bluegrass band the SteelDrivers (which he fronted from 2008 to 2010) and a rock band he founded called the Jompson Brothers. Not to mention the fact he was a writer behind such hit songs as Luke Bryan's "Drink a Beer," Kenny Chesney's "Never Wanted Nothing More" and George Strait's "Love's Gonna Make It Alright."

Traveller, though, puts Stapleton out front and center, something his growing fanbase--not to mention many fellow artists--have been clamoring for.

Among those fans are many fellow artists, too. Blake Shelton, Jake Owen, Luke Bryan, the Band Perry, Randy Houser and even George Strait are just a handful who have used their social media accounts to share their enthusiasm for Stapleton's songs, voice and brand-new album.

Traveller showcases Stapleton's country roots as well as his knack for songwriting, which includes an almost innate ability to tug on listeners' emotions. It also gives country fans a glimpse into who he is as a person and as an artist. Will the album produce radio hits? Hard to say. But either way, Stapleton says he's fine with that.

The sound on the album "is not exactly like everything that's going on right now, which is always a dangerous thing to do," Stapleton explains during a chat this week in New York. But he's OK with that element of 'danger,' because it came from a creative place that was very real. "It's what we all felt led to do, everybody involved," he says. "It was simultaneously the strangest and the best musical experience I've ever had."

Several times throughout our chat, Stapleton explains the process of recording his album as being a "strange experience." This isn't in a bad way, but in the fact that everything fell into place seamlessly.

"I had made a whole other record that we had abandoned. After my dad passed away [in 2013], I took a trip to the desert, really rebooting and trying to figure out what I was supposed to do," he explains.

His wife bought him a '79 Jeep Cherokee in Phoenix, Arizona and they flew out there and decided to drive it back. Stapleton admits it was a "crazy thing to do," as the Jeep was 36 years old. During their drive, the song that would become the title track for the record ("Traveller") came to him as his wife was sleeping beside him in the car.

"I was thinking about life and how we all pass through it," he reflects. "It started at lyric one, so I'm sitting there driving and holding my phone from the first word to the end, and that was the writing of the song." Read more

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