From A Room Vol. 2
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.
“What’s love but just some confusion we don’t need?”
He doesn’t mean it, of course. Vol. 2 leavens its heavier moments with songs that celebrate the simple joys of love and marriage and family, without lapsing into sentimentality. “Millionaire,” a cover of a song by fellow writer Kevin Welch, is about how love is worth more than money. “A Simple Song,” penned by Stapleton’s father-in-law, lists off a family’s escalating woes, which include bad health, poverty, and unemployment, until Stapleton admits, “But I love my life/Man, it’s something to see/It’s the kids and the dogs and you and me.” The idea of finding happiness in the face of hardship is not new in country music, and that’s the whole point. What has made him so successful is how Stapleton invests these ideas with gravity and gratitude.