He made us wait so long, and we really are not talking enough about Chris Stapleton’s new album. It is easy to take for granted the sheer quality of his admittedly limited output. But the list of artists with four albums in a row that strong is pretty much limited to the Turnpike Troubadours.
There are a bunch of country songs that tell country noir tales. I’ve featured a few of them here at Hillbilly Highways. Hillbilly Blood doesn’t tell a complete tale. Instead it just hints at the elements of one, leaving the listener to fill in the page. Stapleton just wants to provide an atmosphere.
In the hands of a lesser artist it could easily devolve into the sort of checklist country that dominates the airways (although hillbillies themselves have largely been extirpated from modern country radio). Stapleton has the gravelly voice for it, though. He knows how to make his guitar complement the lyrics. And he isn’t afraid to be subtle and suggestive with those lyrics.
Hillbilly Blood is off Stapleton’s album Starting Over.
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