It was back in May that Chris Stapleton released his debut album, Traveller, on Mercury Records, to what can only be described as overwhelming critical acclaim with first week sales putting it into the best selling for 2015. Last week 13.6 million viewers tuned in to the 49th Annual CMA Awards and saw the soulful singer in a remarkable on-stage collaboration with superstar and good friend Justin Timberlake. According to Entertainment Weekly it was “an unapologetic display of abnormal levels of talent,” and we’re not about to disagree.
Stapleton took home awards for New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year, marking s the first time in CMA Awards history for a New Artist of the Year winner to also collect Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year. Almost instantaneously, Traveller rocketed to the top of the album sales charts where it currently remains on both the Billboard 200 and country albums chart, making it the first debut country album to hit the top of the Billboard 200 in four years. “Tennessee Whiskey” is the best-selling digital country song of the week with 131,206 downloads sold. Recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A by Vance Powell and co-produced by Dave Cobb and Stapleton, Traveller had already been named “Best of 2015” by Rolling Stone, NPR Music, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Stereogum and more.
Within hours of Stapleton’s impressive showing, all of his remaining US tour dates sold out. As the New York Times points out, “His victories at the awards … were a collective acknowledgement by the industry of the superlative talent of one of its own. With that voice, he does a thing many of his colleagues simply cannot.”
We think we’ll be hearing a lot more from Chris Stapleton. Hear Traveller, here