“She is the greatest singer that ever lived,” Chris Stapleton said of Aretha Franklin onstage at the Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday night. Country’s preeminent vocalist then paid tribute to the singer he called his “all-time favorite” with a typically powerful take on Franklin’s 1967 hit “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.”
“I would never presume to sing an Aretha Franklin song,” Stapleton said, “but in tribute to her tonight, I’ll give it my best shot.” Backed by his rhythm section of bassist JT Cure and drummer Derek Mixon, along with Dave Cobb on guitar and special guest Mickey Raphael on harmonica, Stapleton channeled the soul of Franklin but added a dose of Southern-rock firepower with a furious guitar solo that put an exclamation point on the performance.
Franklin died August 16th at 76 after a bout with pancreatic cancer. Since then, the Detroit singer has been honored with a number of tributes, both musical and written, from luminaries like Barack Obama, Mavis Staples, Faith Hill, Willie Nelson and Rosanne Cash.
Stapleton is currently on his All American Road Show Tour, and will perform in New York and New Hampshire this weekend.