Chris Stapleton: 'From a Room: Volume 1'
We Say: He may appear to be a thick-bearded Seventies outlaw-country throwback, but make no mistake: Chris Stapleton is a soul singer, with a preternaturally creaky voice that can turn wizened or brawny, full of pained howls and distended vowels. ... Arrangements – for guitar, bass and drums, with touches of steel guitar and harmonica – are spare and lean. Songs smolder rather than blaze, amble instead of bolt, and generally keep the volume reined in. Even "Second One to Know," a fierce rocker with rhythm guitar that attacks like John Henry's hammer, still leaves space for Stapleton's vocals to match it, blow for blow.