Chris Stapleton – Higher – Album Review

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Since Chris Stapleton burst onto the country music scene, his grit and soulful artistry have earned him several Grammys, CMAs, ACMs, and widespread popularity around the world. The 2023 CMA Male Vocalist of the Year has had quite the year. Not only did he sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, but he was also crowned Entertainer of the Year at the ACM Awards and embarked on his All-American Road Show Tour, which led to him headlining at Lasso Montreal this past summer.

His expressive storytelling lyrics and authentic roots shine through on his latest release, his highly anticipated first LP since his award-winning 2020 album “Starting Over.” “Higher,” Stapleton’s fifth album, is co-produced by his longtime collaborator Dave Cobb and Stapleton’s wife, Morgane. This new release combines a high-energy modern country style with the tender narrative of an undeniable love story, confessions of forlorn love, and, of course, the age-old country music drinking party stereotype.

“White Horse,” the first single off “Higher,” is an up-tempo track with pure country-pop, steady vocals, and sound. It explores the patience of the heart and holding out for love worth waiting for: “If you want a cowboy on a white horse, riding off into the sunset, that’s the kind of love he’ll wait for… Hold on tight girl, I ain’t there yet…”

The first track, “What Am I Gonna Do,” is a sleek, smooth groove that sets the tone for the following tracks. “It Takes a Woman” is a slow ballad that not only showcases his masterful vocals but also the perfect blend of his wife’s harmonies. Other tracks like “The Fire” are folk-inspired, and “Think I’m in Love With You” gives off a 70s vibe. “The Bottom,” my favourite track on the album, poetically measures misery by the depth of a whiskey glass while suggesting that things can turn out right despite past mistakes.

Stapleton’s style speaks to different variations within the country music genre. He is confident in his ability to give the song the expression it deserves. It is worth the listen—those accolades he has earned are well-deserved.

Chris Stapleton Is for Everyone on 'Higher' | Exclaim!
  1. What Am I Gonna Do
  2. South Dakota
  3. Trust
  4. It Takes a Woman
  5. The Fire
  6. Think I’m in Love With You
  7. Loving You On My Mind
  8. White Horse
  9. Higher
  10. The Bottom
  11. The Day I Die
  12. Crosswind
  13. Weight of Your World
  14. Mountains of My Mind

Higher is out November 10 via Mercury Nashville/Universal Music Canada

Review – Giosi Tortorici

Photo – Becky Fluke

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