When Chris Stapleton announced his departure from The Steeldrivers in 2010, many fans were shocked and saddened by the news. For years, Stapleton had been the identifiable figure in the band. His voice, driving rhythm and songwriting set the band apart from its peers.
Before The Steeldrivers’ rise to popularity, Stapleton wrote several songs for artists such as Brad Paisley and Brooks & Dunn. Following his departure from the band, he continued his career as a writer, writing such hit songs as “Your Man,” recorded by Josh Turner, and “Drink a Beer,” recorded by Luke Bryan.
In 2013, after playing in The Jompson Brothers for a short time, Stapleton announced that he had signed with Mercury Records, and his debut solo album would be released soon. Following that announcement was the release of his first single, “What Are You Listening To.”
While the song had some success, fans were eager for the album release. Stapleton continued to tour, yet the album was nowhere to be seen until earlier this year.
“Traveller,” the debut solo album from Stapleton, will arrive on May 5 and include either 13 or 14 songs, according to sources. Stapleton’s team has been vague about the album, just enough to raise curiosity among fans.
“What Are You Listening To” is not expected to be on the album, but some music is available to preview online. Stapleton has released one full song, “Traveller.”
“Traveller” will be the opening track of the album and will likely set the tone for what the album will be. In a behind the scenes video, Stapleton said the album’s concept came from driving his Jeep through the desert.
The song is deep and mellow. The production’s warm, and Stapleton’s voice is out front. The lyrics are just right for this stage in his career. “I don’t know where I’m going, but I’ve got to go.” It all seems to be on his terms.
Stapleton’s in an interesting position, having already proven himself as a successful songwriter and performer. Several artists in Nashville rely on writers, like Stapleton, for their material, but this time, he’s the one in the spotlight.
While speaking about the new album, Stapleton said that he’s returned to writing for the joy of creation. I think listeners will be very pleased with what he has to offer on this record, if the first single’s any indication. If the industry allows it, Chris Stapleton could bring a wellneeded change to Nashville. We won’t have to wait very long to find out.
Stapleton’s currently on tour with Little Big Town. For more information on upcoming shows, or the new album, visit www. chrisstapleton.com.