From A Room: Volume 1

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From A Room: Volume 1
Chris-stapleton-from-a-room-volume-1.jpg
Studio album by Chris Stapleton
Released May 5, 2017 (2017-05-05)
Recorded 2016–17
Studio RCA Studio A in Nashville
Genre
Length 32:49
Label Mercury Nashville
Producer
Chris Stapleton chronology
Traveller
(2015)
From A Room: Volume 1
(2017)
From A Room: Volume 2
(2017)
Singles from From A Room: Volume 1
  1. "Either Way"
    Released: May 8, 2017
  2. "Broken Halos"
    Released: July 18, 2017

From A Room: Volume 1 is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton, released on May 5, 2017 through Mercury Nashville. Primarily a country, blues, and roots rock record, it was produced by Dave Cobb and Stapleton.

Upon its release, the album received critical acclaim. Commercially, it debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart and number two on the US Billboard 200; in the latter Stapleton scored his best sales week so far. It topped the US Country Albums chart for several weeks.[1] In May 2018, the album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It won the award for Album of the Year at the 51st Country Music Association Awards, and Best Country Album at the 60th Grammy Awards. The song "Either Way" was released as the album's first single,[2] followed by "Broken Halos".[3] They won the Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song, respectively.[4] "Broken Halos" reached the top of the Country Airplay chart.[5]

Background and release[edit]

From A Room: Volume 1 is Stapleton's second studio album, following his solo debut with Traveller, which earned him several accolades at the Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association, and Grammy Awards, and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The release was confirmed to be followed by Volume 2 later that year.[6][7]

The album takes its name from Nashville's RCA Studio A, where it was recorded during the winter of 2016–17. Volume 1 marks the second collaboration between Stapleton and producer Dave Cobb. Prior to the album announcement, Stapleton had premiered several tracks during lives performances.[8] He premiered the album track "Second One to Know" at the 52nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 2, 2017.[9]

The album tracks "Broken Halos", "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning" and "Second One to Know" were released as promotional singles ahead of the album release.[10][11][12] Subsequently, the album was released on May 5, 2017 to music stores and streaming services.[13] "Either Way" was serviced to country radio stations on May 8, 2017 as the first single off the album.[2][14] Stapleton performed the track "I Was Wrong" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[15] The same month, he embarked on his All-American Road Show Tour.[16]

Music and themes[edit]

From A Room: Volume 1 focuses on country, blues and roots rock.[17][18] The songs on the project were written years before his first studio album. The opening track "Broken Halos", written by Stapleton and Mike Henderson, was defined by music publications as a multi-genre song, including mid-tempo country rock, folk rock and Southern gospel.[17][19] Lyrically, on the song Stapleton meditates on the wounds people suffer and the road toward healing that they travel.[20]

The album features eight songs co-written by Stapleton and collaborators, as well as a rendition of "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning", written by Gary P. Nunn and Donna Sioux Farar and original recorded by Willie Nelson.[14] Stapleton recorded the song as an outlaw country guitar ballad,[21] punctuated by harmonies from his wife Morgane in the background, and accompanied by Mickey Raphael playing the harmonica.[17]

The third album track "Second One to Know" is a country and blues rock song with rock and roll influences,[12][22] featuring electric guitar riffs.[21] In "Up to No Good Livin'", which features pedal steel guitar, the narrator, known as "the Picasso of painting the town" because of his lifestyle, worries that he may never be able to convince his lady that he has left his "wild days" behind.[23] "Either Way", written by Stapleton, Tim James and Kendall Marvel, is as a solo acoustic ballad about the end of a relationship,[9] telling the painful tale of a marriage nearing its end.[24] A CMT editor opined the country blues track "Them Stems" is an answer to Traveller's "Might as Well Get Stoned" as is about "a stoner with a dire need to restock his marijuana stash."[9] "I Was Wrong" is rooted in electric blues and Southern soul, featuring a guitar solo by Stapleton. "Without Your Love" finds the singer unable to erase the memory of an ex partner, musically it "recalls a brooding alt-rock ballad" according to a Paste editor.[23] Lyrically, "Death Row" contains themes of a prisoner's final thoughts, featuring cyclical guitar patterns, sparse percussion and repetitive bass – that "hints at the monotony of a life spent behind bars," according to a Rolling Stone reviewer.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic81/100[25]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[26]
Consequence of SoundB[27]
The Independent4/5 stars[28]
The Irish Times4/5 stars[29]
Paste8.1/10[23]
Pitchfork7.6/10[30]
PopMatters8/10[31]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[32]
Spectrum Culture4.25/5 stars[33]
Uncut8/10[34]

From A Room: Volume 1 received widespread acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 81 out of 100, which indicates "universal acclaim" based on nine reviews.[25]

Writing for Rolling Stone, Will Hermes started his album review commenting "Stapleton is a soul singer, with a preternaturally creaky voice that can turn wizened or brawny, full of pained howls and distended vowels the record", and continued describing the record as "strikingly focused, sonically and thematically. Its characters are flawed; there's much bad behavior, with heartbreak to pay." Hermes also noted its music influences, commenting, "It conjures Otis Redding as much as Waylon Jennings [...] Stapleton is a convincing bluesman. You could imagine B.B. King singing "Death Row" or Freddie King slashing through "I Was Wrong" with his jagged Texas guitar, which Stapleton impressively echoes."[32] Also from the magazine, reviewer Robert Crawford stated it "further cements Stapleton as country's reigning outlaw."[17] In Paste, Ben Salmon opined, "Each [track] is charming and sturdy and well put together, evidence of an artist who is at the very top of his game and ready to reach even higher."[23] Rob Hughes in Uncut felt that the album "manages to pull off that rare trick of sounding both fresh and familiar, as dauntless as it is consoling."[34]

In an article for The New York Times, Jon Caramanica described the album as "earthen, rich with tradition, has a tactile intensity and is carefully measured," and noted the songs' themes are "about romantic disappointment and people letting each other down, often with the Stapletons singing in devastating harmony, like on "Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning" and "Up to No Good Livin'.""[35] Joe Lynch from Billboard opined Stapleton's "earthy growl" from Traveller remains intact, and found the lyrics "sharper than before. There's plenty about boozin' and heartache, but he also tackles a prisoner's final day on earth on "Death Row" and hilariously bemoans getting to the end of his stash on "Them Stems.""[36] Also from the publication, Kevin Rutherford, stated the album "shows Stapleton would much rather bend country radio to his will, not vice versa. "Either Way" contains one of the quintessential powerhouse vocal performances in recent memory, while "Second One to Know" is a raucous, guitar-led jaunt that isn’t just a barnburner—it nukes the thing from orbit."[37] In his review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine described it as a collection "of good tunes, delivered simply and soulfully," while there is not a "grand concept," the album "holds together."[38] Glenn Gamboa from Newsday felt the album "isn’t quite the bold, all-encompassing statement" like its predecessor, however, Stapleton's "unpolished, heart-on-his-sleeve approach is bold enough to keep him at the front of the country pack."[39]

Accolades[edit]

Publication List Rank Ref.
Billboard 50 Best Albums of 2017
22
Entertainment Weekly The 25 Best Albums of 2017
9*
Rolling Stone 50 Best Albums of 2017
30
40 Best Country and Americana Albums of 2017
4
The San Diego Union-Tribune The Best Albums of 2017
5*
Stereogum The 10 Best Country Albums of 2017
6*
Uproxx The Best Country Albums of 2017
13
Variety The 20 Best Albums of 2017
no order*
Vinyl Me, Please The 30 Best Albums of 2017
29*

*Along with From A Room: Volume 2

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Result Ref.
2017 Country Music Association Awards Album of the Year Won [49]
American Music Awards Favorite Country Album Nominated [50]
2018 Grammy Awards Best Country Album Won [4]
Academy of Country Music Awards Album of the Year Won [51]
iHeartRadio Music Awards Country Album of the Year Won [52]
Billboard Music Awards Top Selling Album Nominated [53]
Top Country Album Won

Commercial performance[edit]

From A Room: Volume 1 debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 with 219,000 album-equivalent units, of which 202,000 were pure album sales, Stapleton's highest first week sales. The album also debuted at number one on the Top Album Sales chart. It had the largest sales week for a country album in more than a year-and-a-half; the last country artist to sell more in a week was Luke Bryan with Kill the Lights (2015).[54] With 658,000 copies sold in the US throughout 2017 (800,000 album-equivalent units), From A Room: Volume 1 was the country's sixth highest-selling album of the year, and the best-selling country album.[55][56] It has sold 804,700 copies in the US as of June 2018.[57]

In Canada, it debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart.[58] It was certified Platinum in the US and Gold in Canada.[59][60] Volume 1 is the best-selling country album of 2017.[61]

Track listing[edit]

Track listing adapted from the iTunes Store.[13]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Broken Halos"
3:00
2."Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning"
4:15
3."Second One to Know"
  • Stapleton
  • Henderson
2:56
4."Up to No Good Livin'"4:05
5."Either Way"
4:08
6."I Was Wrong"
3:11
7."Without Your Love"
  • Stapleton
  • Henderson
3:51
8."Them Stems"
3:00
9."Death Row"
  • Stapleton
  • Henderson
4:03
Total length:32:49

Personnel[edit]

Credits for From a Room: Volume 1 adapted from AllMusic.[62]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[60] Gold 40,000^
United States (RIAA)[59] Platinum 804,700[57]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing region, edition, formats, label, and reference
Region Date Edition(s) Format(s) Label Ref.
Various May 5, 2017 Standard Mercury Nashville [74]
United States Vinyl [75]
United Kingdom June 16, 2017 Decca [76]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]