Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 337I thought I knew a lot about Chris Stapleton. At least as much as  your average fan would know, I mean.  I knew him as a writer – I knew his songs were recorded by Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, and even Adele.  That list goes on and on and on.  I knew Chris performed with the SteelDrivers for several years. And, I knew he had been nominated for a couple of Grammy awards.  But, I really got to know Chris when I saw him on stage at the Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., on Wednesday night (Aug. 26).

Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 244I was most anxious to see him sing his hit single, “Traveller”.  There is just something about that song that made country music fans like it from the first time we heard it. Chris has an outstanding voice. The lyrics are immediately memorable, and the melody makes me smile. This was the first time I had the opportunity to see Chris do a show. It won’t take me that long to see him again.  When he walked out on stage and started to sing, I felt like I fell asleep in Gray, Tenn., and woke up in a country music paradise!

We  heard songs he wrote, and I got to hear “Traveller” live; but, we also got to hear him do George Jones and Waylon Jennings, and even a song he did when he was with the SteelDrivers. “When the Stars Come Out” and “Tennessee Whiskey” were every bit as good live as they are recorded. You can’t say that about every artist. He gave us more than 90 minutes of non-stop, awesome, country music. He said at one point in the show that he could sing as long as we could stay.  Chris, if that were true, we’d all still be sitting there listening to you sing.  no one wanted to leave.

Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 007His show far exceeded anyone’s expectations. He came back in for a long encore; thanked his fans for coming out to see him; and, he talked to his audience throughout the show.   I love when an artist does that. I wasn’t sure Chris would.  He seemed like the quiet type to me. But, I actually learned before the show that Chris also has a sense of humor. He came out for an on-air interview with Marc Tragler of WXBQ radio before his show.  He and Marc talked,  joked, talked about music, it was a fun interview to watch. And, as a fan who was there early enough to watch that interview, I want to thank Chris for sharing like that. When an artist is willing to come out where his fans are, and let them see who he is, and that he does appreciate them, that says a lot about him. Fans don’t take that kind of thing for granted.

Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 243I am not sure I got the names of those very talented musicians who were on stage with Chris.  I tried to write them down as he introduced them, and if I have any of these wrong, I’m very sorry. But, I believe we had J.T. on bass; Dave on drums; Robert on Steel; and of course, Morgane Stapleton, vocals. Everyone on that stage did a fantastic job. When a show ends, and you come home and go right to the tour schedule on the web site to see how soon they will be in a city near you, that pretty much says it all.

We are going to close this out with a few more pictures from last Wednesday’s show. Thanks to Beverly Hood and Kimberly Brown for contributing photos to this post. What a great time.  I love making memories.

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Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 334Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 309

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Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 326Michael Ray and Chris Stapleton 209

In addition to his web site, you can follow him on Twitter @ShrisStapleton. Take a little time to listen to some of his music on YouTube. Just don’t forget to come back, because you will get lost in that great music!  If you aren’t already following Country’s Chatter on Twitter, we’d love to have you. You will find us @countryschatter.

We will be back with more soon.
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I thought I knew a lot about Chris Stapleton. At least as much as  your average fan would know, I mean.  I knew him as a writer – I knew his songs were recorded by Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, and even Adele.  That list goes...