2015 CMA Album of the Year, An Album 16 Years in the Making

Chris Stapleton finally recognized for his craft

Credit: Mercury Records
Credit: Mercury Records
Credit: Mercury Records

To many people, Chris Stapleton might seem to have burst onto the scene in a flash with his show-stopping performance at the 2015 CMA Awards in a rocking soulful duet with Justin Timberlake. However, Nashville insiders know that Stapleton’s music chops started way back. In fact, he is already a 15-year ‘veteran’ of Music City, having moved to Nashville in 2001 from Staffordsville, Kentucky, a small town near Paintsville, where he grew up as part of a coal mining family. He quickly signed a songwriting deal with Sea Gayle Music (he’s now with Warner/Chappell Music) and started writing or co-writing a string of hits.


He was quickly recognized as a skilled writer, and after co-writing around 150 or so album cuts, he scored his first Number One single with Josh Turner’s “Your Man,” written with Chris Dubois & Jace Everett.  So far, he is credited with writing six Number One hits, including “Love’s Gonna Make it Alright” (George Strait), “Come Back Song” (Darius Rucker) and “Never Wanted Nothing More” that held the Number One spot for five weeks for Kenny Chesney.  Stapleton’s songs have been cut by Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Lee Ann Womack, Brad Paisley and Adele, among many others.


While writing hits for others, Stapleton was working on his own career as an artist, initially as lead singer and guitarist with the bluegrass band, the SteelDrivers, winning an International Bluegrass Music Association award for ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ in 2009. The following year, the SteelDrivers were nominated for three Grammy awards.  He briefly formed a Southern rock band, the Jompson Brothers, before focusing on his solo career.


May 2015 saw the release of “Traveller,” the album that Stapleton co-produced with Dave Cobb and recorded in Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio A.  The project, featuring the voice of his wife, Morgane, singing harmonies, went on to sweep the 2015 CMA Awards, winning “Album of the Year,” “Male Vocalist of the Year” and “New Artist of the Year.”


As 2016 approaches, Chris Stapleton is finally being recognized by the world at large as one of Nashville’s most talented and creative craftsmen. Way to go Chris!

More on Chris at www.chrisstapleton.com.

Story by: Preshias Harris

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