Chris Stapleton - Higher

Regular price $ 45.99

On album number five (or four, depending on how you choose to classify the two-volume From a Room), Chris Stapleton has settled into a comfort zone predicated not on burly outlaw machismo but country-soul. Not that Higher doesn't have moments where Stapleton indulges in a bit of bluesy swagger: "White Horse," a lead single co-written with Dan Wilson, is an anthem designed for dusty backroads, while the swampy grind of "South Dakota" seems designed for the dead of night. Still, the heart of Higher resides in stark, intimate ballads and, especially, simmering soul numbers that rely as much on a supple groove as they do on Stapleton's gruff testifying. Indeed, there are moments on the album where Stapleton is in danger of belaboring the point by leaning into his rasp a bit too hard; it feels like he's singing from the gut, not the heart. Still, those passages are balanced by his dexterous phrasing -- he's riding and playing with the rhythms, letting them build and burn. On the numbers that don't rely on an R&B backbeat, Stapleton can seem earnest and candid, particularly since he keeps returning to confessional themes loosely tied together by recovery motifs. Serious subjects all, but Higher doesn't feel heavy, largely thanks to the record's pervasive warmth. Once again working with co-producer Dave Cobb, Stapleton also has his wife Morgane behind the boards in addition to singing harmony and playing keyboards, a tight, familial group of collaborators that gives Higher a relaxed, familiar feel that keeps things buoyant even in its darkest moments.

2xLP On Bone White Vinyl

What Am I Gonna Do
South Dakota
It Takes A Woman
The Fire
Think I'm In Love With You
Loving You On My Mind
White Horse
The Bottom
The Day I Die
Weight Of Your World
Mountains Of My Mind