Don’t call it a comeback. Chris Stapleton surprised fans last week with an album release date followed by his first single in over two years.
Stapleton wiped his Instagram clean, releasing a 40 second promotional video captioned with a date, “11.13.20.”
The video itself gives an apocalyptic vibe full of horses, bugs and fire accompanied with a heavy soundtrack. Not long after, Stapleton released the title track to his fourth studio album, “Starting Over.” The song has a primarily acoustic sound with vocal harmonies.
Stapleton co-wrote the song with former bandmate, Mike Henderson, with Dave Cobb producing the album. Cobb has produced albums for many country artists including Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. He has produced all three of Stapleton’s previous studio albums, winning the Grammy for Best Country Album on the first two albums.
It’s no surprise that frequent collaborators, Stapleton and Cobb’s new single is absolutely beautiful,
Stapleton is an old school cowboy with a big beard. The complete opposite of what country music has come to represent. The ‘boyfriend country’ represented by Sam Hunt and Dan + Shay, suave haircuts and designer clothing cannot compete with somebody as raw and rough as Stapleton. He brings the classic country to the modern era to connect with country listeners across multiple generations.
“Starting Over” is about exactly what you’d think, starting over. The song is about a couple just getting away. There is a gambling theme through the chorus relating to a couple taking a chance.
The song also has some parts that makes me think of the chaotic state of America:
“This might not be an easy time/ there’s rivers to cross and hills to climb/Some days we might fall apart/and some nights might feel cold and dark.”
Stapleton taps into what makes him the country star he has become. There is a very light and breezy feel that works well with Stapleton’s rough, raspy voice which is easy on the ears.
The song feels special to Stapleton as he’s been a songwriter for several years. Although he wrote for popular country artists such as George Strait and Luke Bryan, Stapleton was still struggling to make it big. That was until he released his first studio album, including his version of “Tennessee Whiskey” which shot him to the top of country’s biggest stars.
The song feels like it comes from the heart of Stapleton, having to get away from the spotlight for a while. He has five kids and a wife, so I wouldn’t doubt that he had to start over.
The album itself seems to have a dark tone to it with songs titled, “The Devil Always Made Me Think Twice” and “Watch You Burn.” However, I love Stapleton’s more simple and sentimental songs about love, life and family.
Needless to say, “Starting Over” has me excited to hear another Chris Stapleton album. He has proven himself to be a superstar who cannot make bad music. Stapleton is back and better than ever.