Chris Stapleton shared a new, previously unheard song called “Broken Halos” on Tuesday, December 13th, as part of Dolly Parton’s charity telethon for victims of the Gatlinburg wildfires. (Watch Stapleton perform the song at the 16:49 mark above.)
Sung live during Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund, it’s a powerful country gospel track that offers a tender, lump-in-your-throat reminder to keep the faith, even in the midst of tragedy. Angels appear to help us on our way, Stapleton sings, but when their job is done they leave. . . and we’re not meant to understand why.
“Seen my share of broken halos / Golden wings that used to fly / They’ve all gone, wherever they go / Broken halos that used to shine,” goes the chorus.
Delivered with a downplayed but still gritty touch of his sandpaper vocals, Stapleton performed the tune with only an acoustic guitar, backed by his wife Morgane and a drummer. More than a glimpse at Stapleton’s post-Traveller musical future, it was a heartfelt tribute to the 14 people who lost their lives in the fires and the thousands more whose homes were destroyed.
The telethon was meant to raise money for Parton’s My People Fund, which aims to give families in need $1,000 a month until they can get back on their feet. The exact amount collected has yet to be announced, but Parton has said the number is in the “millions.”