May 2016’s Record of The Month was Chris Stapleton’s Grammy, CMA and ACM award-winning solo debut album, Traveller, on double vinyl. Traveller earned a number one spot on the Billboard 200 when it came out in 2015. The critically-acclaimed album was also certified double platinum in the United States.
"I'm playing electric guitar, mandolin, acoustic guitar. I'm singing on it, singing harmony with myself in some places on it. It could not be more me," he says of making an album his own way, with only his touring band and producer Dave Cobb. "It's really easy to go out there — and I'm not knocking anyone — and hire guys to do all these things for you. But for me, this is a great representation of what you can come and see live, and possibly connect with."
- Chris Stapleton talks about his album with Rolling Stone
The vinyl was recorded by Vance Powell at Grand Victor Sound in Nashville, TN and The Castle in Franklin, TN. Some additional recording was done at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, TN. The vinyl sleeve, designed by Mary Hooper from Milkglass Creative, features photos of Mr. Stapleton taken by Becky Fluke.
NOTE FROM DREW
5 or 6 years ago, Sheryl Crow played one of my favorite small venues in Nashville, 3rd and Lindsley, to get ready for her summer tour. Ellie and I, along with Nate Dugger and some other friends, went to the show to see her in such an intimate space. The opener was a guy none of us had heard of named Chris Stapleton.
Honestly, the bar was incredibly chatty as he sang a solo acoustic set. There are a ton of songwriters in Nashville, folks who write for country, pop, and christian artists who might not write their own music. The only chatter was that this Chris guy was a songwriter in town who Sheryl loved. Even then though, if you could hear through the drunken bar chatter, was a singular voice.
Traveller is probably my favorite album of the last year. I think it will be a classic, like Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey or Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger. Its a record that made with complete abandon to anything other than Chris’ vision to record his songs honestly, simply, and courageously.
Picking a favorite song would be impossible. “Fire Away” for the sheer monstrosity of the vocal performance. “Whiskey and You” for the haunting story, space and heartache. “Traveller” for the roll your windows and throw your phone out the window vibe. And of course the incredible resurrection of George Jones, “Tennessee Whiskey” which should help anyone fall in love all over again.
It is rare that the popular imagination and thoughtful artistry line up. The success of this album in the mainstream goes to show that you every once in while, everyone gets it right. We are honored and thankful to get to add this timeless record to the Magnolia Record Club.
2. Fire Away
3. Tennessee Whiskey
5. Whiskey and You
6. Nobody To Blame
7. More of You
8. When The Stars Come Out
9. Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore
10. Might As Well Get Stoned
11. Was It 26
12. The Devil Named Music
13. Outlaw State of Mind
14. Sometimes I Cry