Chris Stapleton appeared on The Howard Stern Show this morning, days after releasing his Traveller follow-up, From A Room: Volume 1. The pair kept things informal, talking about the new album, Stapleton’s favorite acoustic guitar and his connection to another multi-platinum, big-voiced belter: Adele.
Although the two have never met, Adele covered Stapleton’s “If It Hadn’t Been for Love” in 2011, releasing her version of the SteelDrivers’ song as a 21 bonus track. Her bus driver allegedly introduced her to the song, and she began performing it live shortly thereafter. Videos of those performances quickly hit YouTube. When Rounder Records CEO Ken Irwin stumbled across one of those clips, he called the SteelDrivers, whose first album had been released by the label two weeks before Adele’s own debut.
“This was before Adele was Adele,” Stapleton tells Stern in the clip above. “She had [released] 19, and she’d gotten New Artist at the Grammys or something, but it wasn’t like she was Adele. So I remember [Irwin] sent me an email, and he’s like, ‘Hey, Adele is doing this song on YouTube. You should really try to get your publishing company to push her to put it on a record or something.’ And I was like, ‘That’s great, Ken. Who’s Adele?’ That was literally my response.”
Stapleton wrote the song on his late-Fifties Gibson LG2. “It’s been with me for more than a decade,” he says of the guitar, likening its familiarity to that of “putting on your favorite shirt.”
Later, when Stern asks him if he enjoys Adele’s cover of “If it Hadn’t Been for Love,” Stapleton is enthusiastic with his praise. “I love her as a singer and as an artist,” he explains. “I always like to write the songs, and they get turned loose into the world and who knows what happens to them. That’s the joy of being a songwriter. You get to hear what other people do, interpretation-wise.”
Listen to three clips from the interview, including a solo performance of “Broken Halos” on that same LG2 guitar.