Chris Stapleton

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Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton in 2015
Stapleton at the 2015 CMA Awards
Background information
Birth name Christopher Alvin Stapleton
Born (1978-04-15) April 15, 1978 (age 37)
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
Origin Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Country
Southern rock
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active Early 2000s–present
Labels Mercury Nashville
Associated acts The SteelDrivers
The Jompson Brothers

Christopher Alvin "Chris" Stapleton[1] (born April 15, 1978) is an American country and bluegrass musician signed to Universal Music Group Nashville. He is an established songwriter with six number one songs[2] including the five-week number one "Never Wanted Nothing More" recorded by Kenny Chesney, "Love's Gonna Make It Alright" recorded by George Strait and "Come Back Song" recorded by Darius Rucker.[3] As a songwriter, over 150 of Stapleton's songs have appeared on albums by such artists as Adele, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley.[4] He has co-written with notable artists like Vince Gill, Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow.[5] Stapleton won the 2015 Country Music Association Award for Best Male Vocalist, New Artist of the Year, and Album of the Year for Traveller.[6] The album became Stapleton's first number-one on the Billboard 200 chart.[7]

Early life[edit]

Stapleton was born in Lexington, Kentucky. His mother worked at the local health department and his father was a coal miner. He comes from a family of coal miners.[8][9] He has an older brother and younger sister.[10][11]

Stapleton grew up in the small town of Staffordsville, Kentucky, which is located between Paintsville and Paintsville Lake, Kentucky.[8] He graduated from Johnson Central High School and attended Vanderbilt University where he studied engineering, but stopped after a year.[12]


In 2001, Stapleton moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a music career. As a songwriter, he signed with the publishing house Sea Gayle Music, a deal he got shortly after moving to Nashville.[13] Stapleton worked as a songwriter, supplemented by odd jobs, for about 15 years.[14] When he became a solo artist, his new publisher became Warner/Chappell Music.[5]

The SteelDrivers[edit]

From 2008 to 2010, Stapleton was the lead singer and guitarist of the bluegrass band The SteelDrivers. In 2009, The SteelDrivers won an International Bluegrass Music Association Award for "Emerging Artist of the Year."[15] In 2010, The SteelDrivers were nominated for three Grammy Awards including Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the songs "Blue Side of the Mountain" and "Where Rainbows Never Die", as well as Best Bluegrass Album for Reckless.[16][17]

Stapleton left The SteelDrivers in April 2010.[18][19]

The Jompson Brothers[edit]

In 2010, Stapleton founded a Southern rock band called The Jompson Brothers.[20] The band was made up of Stapleton on vocals, Greg McKee on guitar, J.T. Cure on bass, Bard McNamee on drums. At one point they opened for the Zac Brown Band.[21]

Solo work[edit]

In 2013, Stapleton signed to Mercury Nashville as a solo artist. His first single, "What Are You Listening To", was released in October 2013, but did not do well.[22] The single was part of a record that was recorded but never released.[23]

His debut solo album, Traveller, was released on May 5, 2015 to positive reviews.[24][25] Stapleton co–produced the album with producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson), and it was recorded in Nashville's famous RCA Studio A.[26] On the album he plays guitar and sings with a live band that is made up of bass player J.T. Cure (from The Jompson Brothers), pedal steel player Robby Turner, drummer Derek Mixon, Mickey Raphael on harmonica, and wife Morgane Stapleton singing harmonies.[27] Stapleton emphasized the importance and magic of the band lineup that came together during the making and promotion of the record, saying the familiarity he had with Cure and Mixon (he has known and played with Cure for over 20 years), plus Cobb's producing which included contributing acoustic guitar in the recording process, added to the richness of making the record.[28]

Stapleton said that the album was inspired by a road trip he took after his father died in 2013.[29] He said he wrote the title track "Traveller" while on a road trip with his wife, driving down Interstate 40 from Phoenix, Arizona, to Nashville via New Mexico.[30] His wife helped to sift through 15 years of songs to pick 9 songs to start recording with.[31]

In 2015, Stapleton won three awards at the 2015 CMA Awards: "Album of the Year", "Male Vocalist of the Year", and "New Artist of the Year".[32] In December 2015, Stapleton will receive the 2015 CMT Artists of the Year Breakout award during a live performance at the annual CMT Artists of the Year show.[33]


Stapleton has contributed to the soundtracks of several feature films, including Cars 2 and Valentine's Day.

Stapleton also cowrote the theme—"All-Nighter Comin'"—to the WSM-AM show, The WSM All Nighter with Marcia Campbell, an American radio show with a large trucker following. He co-wrote the song with Vince Gill and Al Anderson, with Gill featured on vocals on the track.[30]

Notable performances[edit]

In 2013, Stapleton and his wife sang the Don Williams song, "Amanda," live at the Grand Ole Opry.[34][35] They also did an NPR Tiny Desk Concert in November 2015.[36]

At the 2014 CMT Artist of the Year event, Stapleton performed with Lady Antebellum, who played Stapleton's song, "Drink a Beer," which Luke Bryan had recorded, in honor of Bryan, who was unable to attend the ceremony due to a death in his family.[37] Stapleton had sung on the song during Bryan's 2013 CMA Awards performance of the song.[22]

Stapleton has performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers, ABC's The View, and CBS This Morning's Saturday Sessions.

At the 2015 CMA Awards, Justin Timberlake joined him on stage for the show to sing his version of the song popularized as a George Jones live show staple, "Tennessee Whiskey", and Timberlake's "Drink You Away".[38][39]

Personal life[edit]

Stapleton is married to singer-songwriter Morgane Stapleton (née Hayes).[9][40][41] She had a recording deal with Arista Nashville.[42] The couple met when they were working at adjacent publishing houses.[28] They have two children and live in Nashville.[5]

Notable songs (as songwriter)[edit]



Solo albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
Traveller 1 1 47[53] 4


Year Single Peak chart positions Sales Album
US Country
US Country Airplay
US US Digital
2013 "What Are You Listening To" 46 19 N/A
2015 "Traveller" 17 87 10 Traveller
"Nobody to Blame"A 30 29
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
  • A Current single.[55]

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Sales Album
US Country
2015 "Tennessee Whiskey" 1 20 39 Traveller
"Whiskey and You" 35
"Fire Away" 41
"Outlaw State of Mind" 45
"Might as Well Get Stoned" 44
"Parachute" 50
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Songwriter/Composer: Stapleton Christopher Alvin". BMI. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  2. ^ ""Love's Gonna Make It Alright" #1 Party". ASCAP. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Casey, Jim (29 April 2015). "Chris Stapleton: Nashville's Best-Kept Secret". Country Weekly. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  4. ^ Geller, Wendy (8 August 2014). "Chris Stapleton: Man of Few Words, Lots of Great Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Philbrook, Erik (23 July 2015). "Hit Nashville Writer Chris Stapleton Hits the Road with Solo Debut". ASCAP. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Watts, Cindy (4 November 2015). "CMA Awards: Stapleton, Little Big Town are winners". The Tennessean. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Caulfield, Keith (8 November 2015). "Chris Stapleton Soars to No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart After CMAs". Billboard. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c Halsey, Derek (24 August 2015). "Kentucky native Chris Stapleton kicks off Kentucky Music Trail Concert Series". The Herald-Dispatch. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Orr, Dacey (29 April 2015). "Chris Stapleton: Firing Away". Paste. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  10. ^ "Herbert Joseph Stapleton - Kentucky, Vital Record Indexes". FamilySearch. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "Melanie Brooke Stapleton - Kentucky, Vital Record Indexes". FamilySearch. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Shelburne, Craig (21 July 2014). "The Unsung Heroism Of Chris Stapleton". American Songwriter. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  13. ^ Moore, Rick (3 December 2010). "Nashville Songwriter Series: Chris Stapleton". American Songwriter. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  14. ^ Leahey, Andrew (4 November 2015). "The Natural". American Songwriter. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "Recipient History: Emerging Artist of the Year". International Bluegrass Music Association. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  16. ^ Meesa (22 December 2010). "Country Strong". Grammy Award. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  17. ^ Flippo, Chet (22 January 2009). "Nashville Skyline: A Deserved Grammy Nod for SteelDrivers". CMT News. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  18. ^ "Chris Stapleton leaves The SteelDrivers". Country Standard Time. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  19. ^ "Gary Nichols named SteelDrivers' new singer". Country Standard Time. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  20. ^ AmericanSongwriter (5 November 2010). "Making It In Nashville: The Jompson Brothers' Chris Stapleton". American Songwriter. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  21. ^ Schlansky, Evan (11 August 2010). "Zac Brown Band Pick Jompson Brothers For Sailing Southern Ground Cruise". American Songwriter. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  22. ^ a b Caramanica, Jon (20 February 2015). "Chris Stapleton's 'Traveller' to Be Released This Spring". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  23. ^ Morton Jr., Ken (15 June 2015). "In The Moment with Chris Stapleton – An Interview on "Traveller"". Saving Country Music. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  24. ^ Hudak, Joseph (23 January 2015). "Hit Songwriter Chris Stapleton Announces Debut Solo Album 'Traveller'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  25. ^ White, Caitlin (12 May 2015). "Country Songwriter Chris Stapleton Copes With Loss on Triumphant Solo Debut: Album Review (4 stars)". Billboard. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  26. ^ The Associated Press (5 May 2015). "Music Review: Stapleton's Solo CD Takes Road Less Travelled". The New York Times. The Associated Press. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  27. ^ Leight, Elias (6 May 2015). "Chris Stapleton Shows His Inner Stax Soul Man at Album Release Party In New York: Live Review". Billboard. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  28. ^ a b "Chris and Morgane Stapleton - Interview: Louisville Waterfront Park (Louisville, KY)". Paste. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Thanki, Juli (2 May 2015). "Heartaches, highways inspire Chris Stapleton's 'Traveller'". The Tennessean. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  30. ^ a b Dauphin, Chuck (30 April 2015). "Chris Stapleton's Debut Album 'Traveller' Inspired by 'Soul-Searching' Road Trip". Billboard. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  31. ^ Dingfelder, Sadie (20 August 2015). "Chris Stapleton writes songs, wife Morgane deems them worthy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  32. ^ Yahr, Emily (9 September 2015). "CMA nominations: Chris Stapleton, Kacey Musgraves, Sam Hunt score nods as newcomers move in". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  33. ^ CMT Staff (17 November 2015). "Chris Stapleton Tapped for CMT Artists of the Year Breakout Award". CMT. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  34. ^ "Chris Stapleton - "Amanda" - Live at the Grand Ole Opry". Grand Ole Opry. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  35. ^ Crouch, Ian (5 November 2015). "Has Chris Stapleton Cracked the Country Code?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  36. ^ Ganz, Jacob (5 November 2015). "Tiny Desk: Chris Stapleton". NPR. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  37. ^ Anderson, Danielle (3 December 2014). "Luke Bryan Thanks Lady A and Fans After Emotional Tribute Performance". People. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  38. ^ Moss, Marissa R. (4 November 2015). "See Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake's Stunning CMA Awards Duet". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  39. ^ Vain, Madison (7 November 2015). "Chris Stapleton dishes on his Justin Timberlake collaboration". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 9 November 2015. 
  40. ^ a b c d e f g Anderson, Danielle (9 September 2015). "5 Things You Need to Know About Chris Stapleton". People. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  41. ^ Staff (2 December 2006). "BMI Toasts Morgane Hayes for Writing Carrie Underwood Hit". CMT News. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  42. ^ Caramanica, Jon (17 November 2015). "Chris Stapleton Rides His Own Country Music Wave". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  43. ^ a b c Leahey, Andrew (22 September 2015). "Five Essential Songs by Chris Stapleton". American Songwriter. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  44. ^ "2006 ASCAP Country Music Awards: Complete List of Winners". ASCAP. 23 October 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  45. ^ "2007 ASCAP Country Music Awards: Complete List of Winners". ASCAP. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  46. ^ "2008 ASCAP Country Music Awards: Complete List of Winners". ASCAP. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  47. ^ "2009 ASCAP Country Music Awards: Complete List of Winners". ASCAP. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  48. ^ "2010 ASCAP Country Music Awards: Complete List of Winners". ASCAP. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  49. ^ "2011 ASCAP Country Music Awards: Complete List of Winners". ASCAP. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  50. ^ "2012 ASCAP Country Music Awards: Complete List of Winners". ASCAP. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  51. ^ a b c "Nominees & Winners - 2015 CMA Awards". Country Music Association. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  52. ^ Maxwell, Emily (15 April 2015). "Chris Stapleton To Release Limited-Edition 10" Record Store Day Vinyl". American Songwriter. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  53. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums - Australia's Official Top 50 Albums". ARIA Charts. 
  54. ^ Caulfield, Keith (November 20, 2015). "Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Chris Stapleton Already Has 2015's Fourth-Biggest-Selling Country Album". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved $1 $2.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  55. ^ a b c d "Billboard Country Update" (PDF). Billboard. 9 November 2015. 
  56. ^ a b c d e f g h Bjorke, Matt (November 16, 2015). "Top 30 Digital Singles: November 17, 2015". Roughstock. 

External links[edit]