From a Room: Volume 1
“Chris Stapleton is the superstar modern country deserves,” said Craig Jenkins in NYMag .com. The 39-year-old Kentuckian is “a true-blue traditionalist with a voice that could melt stone,” which is why Traveller, his 2015 debut, was catnip to listeners who don’t like all the feel-good anthems that crowd today’s country charts. His follow- up—the first of two albums he’ll release this year—is a “stark and almost uniformly sad” nine-song set. But its downcast mood “doesn’t starve it of dynamic range,” and “not a note feels misspent.” Every track reminds us that Stapleton was a songwriter first and remains “a country guy with a soul singer’s heart.” On the single “Either Way,” about a broken relationship, Stapleton’s voice “packs the potency of a cyclone,” said Walter Tunis in the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader. Yet the album doesn’t bottom out emotionally until “Death Row,” a prisoner’s self-eulogy set to a slow, “doomsday groove.” You won’t be hearing that one on country radio.