Country Radio Seminar, currently underway in Nashville, is an annual event where everyone from rising stars to marquee names try to woo the lords and ladies of the airwaves into playing their singles, but Chris Stapleton may be one of the few artists who doesn’t overtly engage in the “please play me” game. In fact, this afternoon during Universal Music Group’s CRS showcase at the Ryman Auditorium, the Grammy nominee performed a song that’s at least eight years old and doesn’t even appear on his hit debut Traveller. “Either Way,” written by Stapleton with Timothy Alan James and Kendell Wayne Marvel, was first recorded by Lee Ann Womack for her 2008 album Call Me Crazy. (Stapleton provided vocals on Womack’s version.)
“It’s about time for me to start thinking about making another [record] pretty soon,” Stapleton told the packed audience, a mix of radio executives, label reps and media. “And my wife always liked this song.” Sandwiched between acts like Darius Rucker and Lauren Alaina, Stapleton received a standing ovation for the slow, sincere ballad about the rough realities of a modern relationship, as his voice soared effortlessly through the chorus.
The Universal showcase also boasted dynamite performances from Kip Moore, who delivered an epic take on his current single “Running for You,” and Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Charles Kelley and Eric Church, who played a solo version of “Record Year” from Mr. Misunderstood.
Stapleton will return to the famed Ryman next week for three sold-out shows, and is set to participate in a B.B. King tribute at Monday’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.