A record crowd of more than 150,000 people descended upon downtown Nashville’s Lower Broadway on New Year’s Eve to ring in 2016 with a diverse lineup of musicians including Chris Stapleton, Kings of Leon, Kelsea Ballerini and Wild Cub.
One of the evening’s biggest draws was CMA award winner and Grammy nominee Stapleton, who — in addition to playing his own set of original tunes — closed the festivities by joining headlining act Kings of Leon for a one-off collaboration on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” The faithful reprise of the classic rock staple in the video above opens with its familiar electric guitar arpeggios and restrained drumming before swelling to massive, lighter-lofting proportions.
Kings of Leon lead singer Caleb Followill delivers the first verse, then Stapleton gets a turn — eliciting an enthusiastic “woo!” from the crowd. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Stapleton adds his own confident, soulful inflections to each of Ronnie Van Zant’s lines about humility and faith. Followill and Stapleton repeat the same pattern for verses three and four, which are augmented by a couple of passionate guitar solos from Kings of Leon’s Matthew Followill.
With the breakout success of his album Traveller, Stapleton launched his headlining tour January 1st in Birmingham, Alabama and will head overseas in March. Stapleton and wife Morgane Hayes Stapleton recently recorded their version of “You Are My Sunshine” for producer Dave Cobb’s forthcoming Southern Family project.