Graham Reid | | 1 min read
If you didn't know what he looked like, how might you picture songwriter Chris Stapleton from knowing his songs had been covered by Adele and he's co-written with Ed Sheeran, Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow?
You might see Stapleton as some bookish-looking writer in an office in London, New York or LA.
But add in a swag of country music awards for his songs and his own albums, the fact he comes from a hard-graft family in Kentucky and maybe a different image emerges.
Then you play his raw country-rock, swamp-funk rock on this new album and his actual appearance – like a beardy, long-hair mountain man on some American reality show – makes a whole lot of sense.
Elsewhere profiled Stapleton some time back and since then he hasn't slowed down as a writer, performer and award winner.
This new collection in a typically understated cover cuts through such a wide swathe of styles – all of which he is convincing in – that, as always, you could hear it as source material for everyone from Rod Stewart (the aching, string-enhanced soulful ballad Cold) to John Fogerty (the swamp rock of Devil Always Made Me Think Twice) and roadhouse rock bands everywhere (Arkansas co-written with the on-hand Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers).
There's folk-country balladry (Joy of My Life) and brooding toughness (Hillbilly Blood), the spirits of Waylon and the Allmans sprinkled everywhere, and a tribute to his adopted hometown on Nashville, TN in which he bids it farewell.
Chris Stapleton was always bigger than that capital of country music and here is further proof.
You can hear this album on Spotify here