Chris Stapleton recorded his new appearance on Austin City Limits last October, just a matter of weeks after Tom Petty died unexpectedly. Before the new episode airs this Saturday, you can hear Stapleton’s thoughts on the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and see a blistering performance of his own song “Second One to Know.”
Stapleton had the opportunity to play a handful of shows with Petty and the Heartbreakers last summer, on what proved to be the 66-year-old performer’s final concert tour before his death. It’s a memory that momentarily chokes up Stapleton, who describes Wildflowers as a personally “formative record” and admits to basing his choice of guitar on that of Petty’s lead guitarist, Mike Campbell.
“Tom was a singular talent that I don’t think comes around that much,” Stapleton says. “I will never forget the experience of playing Wrigley Field with him and getting to play two shows in Milwaukee at Summerfest with them. Awards are good and selling records is good and making a living’s good. But when you get to do things with heroes, those are the things… that elevate the experience of playing music.”
The interview below, conducted by program producer Terry Lickona, also touches on Stapleton’s Songs From A Room: Volume 2 and his onstage chemistry with wife Morgan Hayes-Stapleton. The couple once again take the spotlight on “Second One to Know,” which features some particularly searing and unhinged guitar work from Stapleton as the band tears through the back half of the song.
Stapleton splits the episode, which is the finale of the show’s 43rd season, with Red Dirt country heroes Turnpike Troubadours. The episode airs February 17th at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.