CD REVIEW: Starting Over by Chris Stapleton

Award-winning American singer-songwriter Christopher Stapleton has just released his fourth album Starting Over. The singer-songwriter had written multiple hits for many country, rock, and pop artists before releasing his mega-successful debut solo album Traveller in 2015. In 2017 two album releases followed, From A Room: Volume 1 and From A Room: Volume 2.  

In 2015, Stapleton became the first artist to ever to win Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards. In 2016, the Grammy committee bestowed two awards: Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Album. In 2018 he won three more Grammys for From a Room, Volume 1: Best Country Album, Best Country Song for Broken Halos, and Best Country Solo Performance for Either Way. He also performed Wildflowers with Emmylou Harris to honour the late Tom Petty during the awards show broadcast.

Starting Over is an album that traverses the depth and breadth of Stapleton’s remarkable talent for writing a wide range of powerful and poignant songs, in a multitude of styles within the country genre. Whether it’s the triple time feel and exuberance of the lyric of the first single Starting Over or the surging emotional of the narrative in Maggie’s Song, Stapleton serves up a kaleidoscopic array of pure and spirited Americana that leaves one with no question about the scope of his abilities. As well as presenting a mix of interconnecting stylistic choices, Stapleton offers up a chameleonic change of voice too; for one song searing with volcanic urgency, during the next assuaging the listener with a vulnerability and openness. Starting Over is an expansive album in terms of subject matter, voyaging from the personal, such as Joy of My Life, to the more existentialist, such as revealed in the undercurrents of Devil Always Made Me Think Twice but it retains a core aesthetic, an allegiance to a blues based country music canon, and that pairing of Stapleton’s undeniable writing and vocal mastery with this style makes Starting Over a valuable addition to that very same oeuvre.

by Vince Leigh

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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