Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

by Joe Kidd for Country Music News International

 

Mercury Nashville Records

Released August 28, 2020

 

 

  1. Starting Over
  2. Devil Always Made Me Think Twice
  3. Cold
  4. When I’m With You
  5. Arkansas
  6. Joy Of My Life
  7. Hillbilly Love
  8. Maggie’s Song
  9. Whiskey Sunrise
  10. Worry B Gone
  11. Old Friends
  12. Watch You Burn
  13. You Should Probably Go
  14. Nashville Tn.

 

Chris Stapleton has been around for a while.  He has found success as a singer, as well as a songwriter.  His talents and skills are uncommon.  They reach far beyond the limits of mainstream country music.  He taps the same source that nourished many of the great romantic poets of history.  As a result, we are given the gift of his personal feelings about love and romance, longing and satisfaction.

 

There is no question where the obvious musical influences lie.  There are shadows here of Allman Brothers, Bad Company, The Band, and others.  The sounds are familiar enough to be reminiscent and pleasing while maintaining their originality.

 

Stapleton’s rough southern voice is a perfect vehicle for this mix of  bluesy country songs.  His guitar playing is pure energy and excitement.  He is equally at home in the Rock & Roll, Blues, and Americana that sustain the CD.

 

Along with the confessional love ballads, there are a number of hillbilly legends at work here as well.  They are haunting and disturbing like the geographical areas of their origin.

 

To make sure nobody is disappointed, we are offered the obligatory songs about the sacraments of alcohol and marijuana.  There is even an incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking Maggie’s Song about his dog which, if there is any justice in the world, will find its place alongside the timeless classic Old Shep.

 

Chris Stapleton is a big man blessed with a special talent, sensitivity, vision, and love, for others and for his art.  This record is a perfect showcase for all of that and more.  It is an epiphany.  In a very seminal way, it is different, in essence, from what we have heard in the past.

 

I, for one am very happy that Chris Stapleton has started over.

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