Chris Stapleton doesn’t seem like the type of singer and performer who would be nervous to attempt a cover version of any song, given his extraordinary range and interpretive ability. But the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter recently noted that Prince, who died April 21st at the age of 57, might be out of reach for him.
“Some of the things he had just sounded like straight jazz tunes. He’d get out there,” Stapleton tells Rolling Stone Country. “He’s a tough one to cover. There’s a lot going on there. He had a lot of range.”
Stapleton threw caution to the wind over the weekend at his April 23rd show at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, California. “I’m gonna try this. We’re gonna do it for a great musician we lost recently,” he explains to the crowd’s roaring approval. He then lights into “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which Prince originally recorded in 1985 for his side-project The Family but became an international smash in 1990 when Irish singer Sinead O’Connor released her version. Stapleton’s cover, backed by a lean version of his band that includes Mickey Raphael, veers closer to O’Connor’s stately arrangement, but that bluesy howl is all his own.
Stapleton’s tour itinerary will keep him in California this week, with shows in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, as well as an April 30th appearance at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio. Stapleton was also in Indio on April 24th, performing as part of Coachella.
Watch Prince’s incredible ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ solo at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.