Best Album of 2015 To: Put On While Driving Down a Country Road at Sunrise
First Bite: “Tennessee Whiskey”
The year was 2008 when I made a conscious decision to stop listening to country music. I knew there was still ‘good’ country music out there but the genre was down on my list of preferred listening and I wasn’t willing to put in the effort to dig for it. If the radio wasn’t going to spoon feed me country music with a backbone then I knew I had to say adieu. I was a fan of the highway men, outlaws, storytellers, and songs with substance. Tunes about light beer chugging and parking lot partying with ghost written hooks just weren’t, and still aren’t, for me.
Enter Chris Stapleton (and to be honest, a handful of other great artists the past couple years i.e. Ryan Bingham, Sturgill Simpson, The White Buffalo). Yeah, his most popular song is a George Jones cover (“Tennessee Whiskey”) and he’s helped write songs for some of the same country radio darlings that I loathe, but he gives me everything I look for in a country album – storytelling, heartbreak, and whiskey. Not to mention he was actually rewarded with album and vocalist of the year by the Country Music Association earlier in 2015.
Country is a genre that appeals to me only when an emotional connection is made and because of the believability and authenticity of Stapleton’s lyrics, Traveller has appealed to me more than any country album of the past ten years.