Damn! Was the first word that I said when I put this album on a few weeks ago and Damn! It remains. After that? Speechless, for almost three weeks. How can I even give this album justice? Can my words even praise this album and artist enough? Suddenly I was having doubts about my ability to write a review as I was in awe and pretty much felt and feel that this album speaks for itself. Volumes, that’s a certainty, this album speaks volumes and needs no direction from any review other than, get this album now!
Chris Stapleton returns with From A Room: Volume 1 after an incredibly successful run with the release of Traveller which pretty much put Stapleton on the map globally. With Traveller being so critically acclaimed by industry, artists and fans, winning almost every award out there including a Grammy for Best Country Album and his voice and music being championed wherever you went there was always going to be a slight concern in me that Traveller could not be topped. However, it has!
From the start with song Broken Halo’s I was instantly drawn in and noticed that he had a sense of John Hiatt in the song and a strong nineties sound which I love.
Chris’ voice is flawless and is one of the voices that when you listen, you think, “well this is just insane” his vocals are beautifully soulful and bluesy in the perfect blend with a rough, gravelly/gruffly, smoky, whiskey breath tone which really hits you. There is no falseness in the way he sings, no apologies – it is honest and natural and when he sings live, he cuts no corners, just sings as if it was what he was put on this earth to do which I believe to be true. I mentioned John Hiatt but Joe Cocker springs to mind in the vocals slightly.
Chris’ wife Morgane who is just as vocally perfect, provides strong, soulful harmonies which push the songs to an even higher degree. If they weren’t married, then their voices certainly were.
It is incredibly hard to pick stand out tracks when the entire album is stand out. The only downside is that the album has only nine tracks but then again, Volume 2 is set to be released by the end of the year so it’s not the end of the world and will give me and many something to look forward to, but lets not get ahead of ourselves, this album is enough, even with nine songs as they are all so irresistibly and endlessly playable that you won’t want to play anything else.
The album in its entirety is epic, genius and unmissable. It is the perfect mix of country, blues, rock-blues, soul, bluegrass, skiffle and Jazz. Songs like Up To No Good Livin’ hold strong traditional country sounds and Second One To Know has a strong sense of Rock Blues which brings a lot of energy to the album and awakens the soul. Them Stems, Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning bring in the country-blues element of the album as does Either Way which is more down tempo and I guess Chris’ version of a blues ballad. I Was Wrong has a strong Funky-Jazz-Rock style that in places holds a sense of Jimi Hendrix. Without Your Love – the Deep South sounding instruments provide an almost haunting effect to this heavenly bluesy track which develops into a more rounded, fuller chorus and flows into a tight bridge.
The album ends with Death Row – a deliciously soulful start with show stopping vocals and a casually calm bluesy bass and cool guitar riffs which make the song perfect in its simplicity. This song is the moment in a live show where there is total silence with the occasional cheering. Picture it? I do!
The musicianship throughout the album is hard hitting, chilling and sends shivers down my spine. Chris is an extraordinary talent, need I say more?
Preach! Preach! Preach!
From A Room: Volume 1 by Chris Stapleton