AOTY 2023
Chris Stapleton - Starting Over
Nov 26, 2020 (updated May 8, 2021)
chris stapleton’s fourth album, “starting over”, is intelligently written and executed. performed with soul and talent, he captures the spotlight and shares it with his collaborators.

“cold”, imo, is the best song on the album. it is a ballad in which stapleton tells of his love’s absence in his wavering baritone. the way stapleton vocalizes “cut me”: his voice cuts through with unrelenting effectiveness. stapleton grabs and thrashes through his wounds; his swagger masked with the brilliant backing bass of j.t. cure. stapleton howls,

oh, why you got to be so cold?
why you got to go and cut me like a knife
and put our love on ice?”

“cold” contains chris’ guitar chops, lovelorn lyrics, orchestral emotion, brilliant arrangements, and great player performances. the combination of aspects is bold and it pays off.

also, the one viola is a nice touch, alongside many violinists, numerous cellists, a drummer, multiple guitars, etc. the overall arrangements of "cold" are impressive.

the title track, "starting over", has lyrics of love and landscapes. chris sings with a rhythm that is so timely. the guitar work is peaceful albeit repetitive. an instrumental section puts in perspective how wonderful the words are. chris and morgane stapleton have chemistry off rails, as she aides chris with her voice.

“devil always made me think twice” has raspy vocals that remind me of chris cornell. this comparison continues on “hillbilly blood” where stapleton adapts a grunge type vibe.

“old friends” is an extremely calm song that comforts the listener.

“watch you burn” has southern rock charm as it’s led by tom petty and the heartbreakers’ mike campbell. campbell co-wrote "watch you burn" with chris stapleton, who sings through his anger of the increase in mass shootings. the essentially perfect electric guitar is played by campbell.

the album ends well with a parting song about nashville. stapleton reflects about his relationship with the city; as he ultimately has to move on.

1 Comment
Nice! Started getting into Stapleton myself after seeing his Tiny Desk. P.S. I just wanted to mention a fine coincidence; you're my first follower, and I'm also from Cleveland. Small world.
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