The singer-songwriter has already been one of Nashville’s most respected under-the-radar artists for years, first as the frontman for the SteelDrivers, scoring three Grammy nominations for his work with the group. He has written songs for other artists as diverse as Adele, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley, and reached No. 1 with songs he wrote for George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Darius Rucker. He also co-wrote Luke Bryan‘s “Drink a Beer, ” which hit No. 1 and was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2015 ACM Awards, and most recently co-wrote the new Thomas Rhett single, “Crash and Burn.”
Stapleton released his debut solo album, Traveller, last Tuesday (May 5). The project had already met with a chorus of early praise from media outlets including NPR, Rolling Stone and even the Wall Street Journal, and it debuted at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Country Albums Chart and in the Top 15 on Billboard’s Top 200, selling more than 27, 000 copies in its first week. Those numbers make Traveller one of the 10 best first-week country debuts in the last five years.
Co-produced by Stapleton and Dave Cobb, whose credits include Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell, the album offers up a gritty slice of life, culling the best songs from Stapleton’s catalog from the last 14 years. He appeared on Late Night With David Letterman in one of the coveted slots in the buildup to Letterman’s final show to perform the title song and first single, “Traveller, ” and will perform on a series of shows opening for Eric Church on his Outsiders World Tour this summer.