Album Review: Chris Stapleton – From A Room: Volume 2

Nick Album Review, Headlines

It doesn’t seem like only two years since Chris Stapleton released his smash debut solo album “Traveller”. The album that changed the face of country music crept up on everyone, thrust into the limelight after his historic collaboration with Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards of 2015, preluding the insane sales spree that brought “Traveller” Platinum status.

It’s interesting to see what Chris has followed up with, and I’m sure nobody expected a double album to hit us this year. Whether this is a mercenary tactic to pressure fans to fork up to twice the amount of money for what could be released as one long record, or a genuine artistic choice, that’s a moot point given that the exact reasoning, and indeed whether it was the artist’s decision, or a label one, will likely remain unknown.

What is possible to say is that whilst neither “From A Room: Volume 1” or “Volume 2” have quite the same fresh, new quality as “Traveller”, neither Stapleton’s writing, and more importantly his vocal capacity have changed, and that automatically makes the record a winner. On songs like “Friendship” it is also clear that his amazing chemistry with wife Morganne Stapleton is as wonderful as ever, and indeed, she is a lot of the reason that Chris stands out so far from the crowd of other artists who have soul in their vocals and depth in their writing.

There is also a heavier tone to “Volume 2”, with a few more Rock ‘n’ Roll sounding numbers. “Midnight Train To Memphis” is a great example of this, with a lot more electric guitar than we are used to hearing from Chris. Like many of his ventures, Chris nails the performance, and surely this must be a staple of his live show, since his voice is so powerful, one can hear jaws hitting the floor already.

“Millionaire” was one of the songs pre-released from the record, and is a true highlight. Again, the chemistry in harmony of Chris and Morganne is abundant, and the slow, winding rhythm changes up nicely from the roaring “Midnight Train To Memphis”. Likewise “Scarecrow In The Garden” is probably the most country song on the album, with a distinct throwback sound. Telling a story with emotive, beautiful lyrics, Stapleton is at his best here. Indeed, it is one of the best songs he’s released since Traveller, and will stand the test of time, not just relying on Chris’ stunning vocals.

“From A Room: Volume 2” is a good record. Is it groundbreaking like “Traveler”? No, it is probably not. Does it make sense when listening next to “From A Room: Volume 1”? Not in the same way as Miranda Lambert’s double album “The Weight Of These Wings”. The double album venture works when a theme is followed, and when you can listen for the first time side-by-side. This venture feels to me a little mercenary, which for me soils what are very solid musical records. Chris Stapleton is my favourite artist, and for me nobody even gets close to him vocally, but I’d like him to shake it up a bit more, perhaps exploring a few more Rock ‘n Roll numbers that we know he can do.

  Track List
  1. Millionaire
  2. Hard Livin’
  3. Scarecrow In The Garden
  4. Nobody’s Lonely Tonight
  5. Tryin’ To Untangle My Mind
  6. A Simple Song
  7. Midnight Train To Memphis
  8. Drunkard’s Prayer
  9. Friendship


More Information

Birthday

15 April 1978


Birthplace

Lexington Kentucky



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About the Author

Nick

I listen to music of all genres, including most of the sub-genres within country. I tend to focus on alt-country/Americana, but have a few loves within more mainstream circles. I am almost certainly the world’s biggest Lee Ann Womack and Chris Stapleton fan, but my love of Aubrey Sellers, Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson is also the stuff of legend.