While his mother watched from the audience, Chris Stapleton kicked off the morning with an appearance on the Today Show, playing three songs for a large, outdoor crowd in New York City.
It was arguably the biggest pre-9:00 a.m. gig of the songwriter's career, with an audience that stretched across Rockefeller Plaza and a camera crew that documented his performances of "Broken Halos," "Tennessee Whiskey" and "Second One to Know." Even so, Stapleton kept his entourage small, taking the Today stage with a backing band featuring harmony singer Morgane Stapleton, bassist J.T. Cure and drummer Derek Mixon. Absent were all three of the lineup's occasional sidemen: pedal steel wiz Robby Turner, harmonica player Mickey Raphael and guitar-playing producer Dave Cobb.
But who needs sidemen when your core lineup covers so much ground? With a voice that could've rumbled the taxi-cab roofs of Manhattan's morning commuters, Stapleton delivered his three-song set – whose selections were weighted toward this year's Gold-certified From A Room: Volume 1 – with fury and fire, prompting Today host Hoda Kotb to ask Stapleton's mother, "What's in the secret sauce?" According to Mrs. Stapleton: "Chris is simply a gift from God."
Stapleton is currently on his All-American Road Show Tour. He'll perform in Holmdel, New Jersey, Wantagh, New York, and Bristow, Virginia, this weekend.