From A Room Vol. 1
Nashville institution Chris Stapleton followed his 2015 breakthrough with two new albums this year. They showcase his omnivorous approach to country music in all its dignified melancholy.
As a songwriter, Stapleton rarely strays from country’s evergreen topics: breaking hearts, breaking the law, breaking the bank. But he tackles them with a graceful economy of language and fine gradients of emotion. Take “Either Way,” off Vol. 1, originally recorded by Lee Ann Womack on her 2008 album Call Me Crazy. Stapleton, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, describes the romantic inertia between lovers who only talk “when the monthly bills are due.” He sings quietly on the verses, as though lost in thought, but his voice rises to a near-shout on the chorus: “We can just go on like this/Say the word, we’ll call it quits.” There’s not a happy ending. In fact, there’s not an ending at all. The last verse makes clear that nothing will change between them.