Best Crossover From Another Festival: Chris Stapleton
Outlaw country star Chris Stapleton arrived onto the desert landscape of Coachella, offering a preview of his upcoming set at the event's sister festival, late April's Stagecoach. But he was comfortably at home in front of the gathered masses of rock, dance and hip-hop fans in Indio, California. He sang of "Tennessee Whiskey" and played guitar as wife Morgane sang lead on soaring honky-tonk ballads that left her in tears – either from the genuine sadness of the words, or the raw emotion and warmth from of the crowd. Stapleton is a major rising figure in contemporary country and has crossed over to a new, wider audience without softening or over-polishing his songs. He remains a true outlaw who happens to also rock convincingly when he wants to, and he speaks fluent blues on his guitar. On Sunday, "Might As Well Get Stoned" began with a riff Keith Richards would appreciate and vocal eruptions not far from Lynyrd Skynyrd, filling the crowded Gobi tent with vibrant, heartfelt sounds.