In what's getting to be a semi-regular occurrence, Chris Stapleton just enjoyed another monster week. Starting off strong at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on February 15th, Stapleton took home two trophies: Best Country Album (Traveller) and Best Country Solo Recording ("Traveller"). He also stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to perform and revealed some surprisingly strong comedic ability. He wrapped up the week with a victorious, sold-out three-night stand at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium that was rapturously received by fans and industry guests alike.
Openers varied nightly, with Maren Morris joining on Thursday (February 18th), Sam Lewis playing Friday (February 19th) and Aubrie Sellers taking Saturday (February 20th). During the February 18th show, Stapleton was generous with his stage time and even reunited with his soulful bluegrass group the SteelDrivers between gritty, crowd-assisted renditions of songs from Traveller.
Morris — whose excellent set featured current single "My Church" and "Drunk Girls Don't Cry" — also returned to the stage in the middle of Stapleton's set for a crowd-pleasing cover of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'."
Getting the Stapleton vote of confidence as one of country's promising new talents, Morris leads the first verse and trades out with Stapleton for the second verse. They ramp up to big, full-throated harmonies on the choruses, while Stapleton's wife Morgane happily dances and shakes her tambourine. Morris picks up the lead again in the next verse, adding some soulful improvisations that earn enthusiastic cheers from the audience. Stapleton also proudly shows off his band, giving Robby Turner some space for a liquid pedal steel solo.
With one of 2016's hottest live tickets, Stapleton will head west this week for sold-out shows in Lubbock and San Antonio, Texas as well as Thackerville, Oklahoma.