Chris Stapleton
Track by Track

1. “Traveller” (Chris Stapleton)
In December of 2013, my wife bought me a 1979 Jeep Cherokee. We flew to Phoenix to pick it up and drive it home. It was meant to be a bit of a head clearer for the both of us. I wrote “Traveller” in the quiet of the morning driving through the desert somewhere in New Mexico. I was thinking about life and how we are all just passing through it. The lyrics came beginning to end as I watched the sun come up over the mountains.

2. “Fire Away” (Chris Stapleton and Danny Green)
I wrote this song with a songwriter named Danny Green. I don’t recall much about writing it. It was long ago. I do think one of us in the room had had an argument with a woman that morning or the night before. It’s a song about the frustration of commitment to me. Maybe that’s why my wife always wanted me to record this song.

3. “Tennessee Whiskey” (Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove)
This was always one of my favorite love songs. I probably listened to the David Allan Coe version the most. The imagery is perfect. The guys in the band were playing this groove in a sound check in Charlottesville, VA one night. I started singing “Tennessee Whiskey” on top of it. It felt good, so we played it that night. It’s been a part of what we do ever since.

4. “Parachute” (Chris Stapleton and Jim Beavers)
I had a dream and woke up with the lyrics “you only need a roof when it’s raining…” rolling around in my head. Didn’t really know what they meant. I liked the sound of it though. When I got together with my friend Jim Beavers that day, I walked in the room he was playing music that was clearly meant for the lyrics I had dreamt. It seemed the two were meant to meet that day. Some days are luckier than others.

5. “Whiskey And You” (Chris Stapleton and Lee Thomas Miller)

This was a title brought into a writing session by my dear friend Lee Miller. The title wrote the song in my opinion. It was an album cut on a Tim McGraw record. I always thought it was one of the better songs I had been a part of so I decided to play it out. Over time it became a song that I was rarely allowed to leave the stage without singing. We went through several versions of recording this song until I finally decided it was best to present it in its original form: me, a guitar and one microphone.

6. “Nobody To Blame” (Chris Stapleton, Barry Bales and Ronnie Bowman)
I have a little shed out behind my house. It’s about 10x10 and on occasion I write songs out there. I got together one afternoon with Barry Bales and Ronnie Bowman. I think we wrote three songs that day. This was one of the three. It’s a song about a man getting what he deserves for not doing the things that he knows he should and doing things he knows he shouldn’t. I’m pretty sure that everybody can relate to that on some level.

7. “More Of You” (Chris Stapleton and Ronnie Bowman)
I used to have an office on 16th Avenue. One night, Ronnie Bowman and I were hanging out and wound up there. I pulled out a mandolin and he grabbed an upright bass I had sitting in the corner and began to play. It was an old sound. Almost Marty Robbins like. It felt like a love song. We both have remarkable women for wives. We tried our best to write this as a song celebration of that.

8. “When the Stars Come Out” (Chris Stapleton and Dan Wilson)
I was in LA to write some songs with Dan Wilson. The night before we wrote I was looking up at the sky from my hotel room and noticing how the city lights drown out the stars. I decided to take a walk down the street and find something to eat. As I walked, I noticed everyone looked like “somebody.” They all looked famous. They all looked like stars. I began to toy with the notion that maybe all of the LA stars are walking around. And perhaps some nights, they shine brighter than the city lights. That was the thought I brought to Dan the next morning.

9. “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” (Chris Stapleton)

I wrote this song in my girlfriend’s (now wife) apartment. It took about ten minutes. I had the idea for maybe a week before. I had been back to east KY to visit my parents and had noticed my Dad didn’t say grace at the dinner table, which he had done without fail every meal my entire life. Maybe it was a momentary lapse of faith or maybe he was just tired. Whichever it was, it gave me the thought, “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore.” For the sake of the song, I thought it was more powerful image if the reason Daddy didn’t pray was that he had passed away. When my Dad passed away in October of 2013 this song came to mean a great deal more to me. I got to hear him say grace many times after I wrote this song. I miss his voice and those words.

10. “Might As Well Get Stoned” (Chris Stapleton and Jimmy Stewart)
I wrote this song in my garage apartment that I lived in when I first moved to Nashville. One of the first and lasting friends I made in Nashville was a singer/songwriter/musician named Jimmy Stewart. I don’t remember who called who or if we had just happened to wind up at my apartment. In those days, the two of us would habitually sit up all night and play fiddle tunes or listen to bluegrass songs we both loved. So anyway, this particular night we started writing a song. We got to talking about what a guy in a country song might do if he ran out whiskey. We ultimately came to the conclusion he’d probably get stoned. Once we got that part figured out, it kind of wrote itself.

11. ”Was It 26” (Don Sampson)
When I first moved to town I got invited by Steve Leslie, who brought me to town, to a songwriter round. I’ll never forget it. It was Steve, Wynn Varble, Kevin Denny and Don Sampson. They took turns playing songs they had written. They went through a few rounds and when it got around to Don Sampson’s turn he told the story that he had written this song on a Pizza Hut napkin and that every word was true. That song was “Was It 26” and at the time I think it was the only song Charlie Daniels had recorded that he hadn’t written. That was the moment I realized the importance of the songwriter. Even though I was barely 23, “Was it 26” was a song that I had in heavy listening rotation. Don and I wound up writing at the same publishing company for a number of years. I told him not long after that first time I heard him play it how much I loved that song and he said, “Maybe someday when you’re older you can record it.” And now I have.

12. “The Devil Named Music” (Chris Stapleton)
I wrote this song on the road when I was touring with the Streeldrivers. We were in the middle of a particularly difficult stretch of travel. We drove from a horse ranch gig in Wyoming to Billings, Montana in a rental minivan, slept one hour, boarded a plane, changed planes in Denver (I don’t actually remember doing this), and ended up it Salt Lake City, Utah and played a gig that night. Those years were my first real taste of being a touring musician. This song is exactly how I felt that night.

13. “Outlaw State Of Mind” (Chris Stapleton, Ronnie Bowman and Jerry Salley)
This is a song that was born out of the music. I had the guitar lick long before there was a melody or lyric. Writing with Ronnie Bowman and Jerry Salley I offered up the riff. We didn’t get very far that day, but Jerry and Ronnie did get us to a verse melody. Turns out it was enough. Before we could get back together to finish it, I had lyrics come to me that seemed to fit the mood. Pieces of my own life that I felt convicted to sing about and share.

14. “Sometimes I Cry” (Chris Stapleton and Clint Ingersoll)

This song was written on a mandolin. At the time I had a bit of an obsession with the instrument. I couldn't play it (still can't), but I loved writing songs on it. Clint and I wrote it in the old EMI writer rooms on 16th Avenue. They were sort of windowless institutional squares, but a majority of my early Nashville songwriting took place there. They’ve since been torn down in the name of progress. I think they’re building condos there. It was the same building where I met my wife and witnessed a record being made for the first time. A Guy Clark record called The Dark. Now, when I play this song, I’m reminded of that building and those memories.

For more information, please contact Asha Goodman 615.320.7753 or Carla Sacks 212.741.1000 at Sacks & Co.

Or Lori Christian 615.524.7563 at Universal Music Group Nashville.