On this date in 2015, the one and only Chris Stapleton was topping the country charts with his debut studio album Traveller.
It of course was a breakout record for him turning the genre on its head, and was met plenty of critical acclaim, as it notably received a nomination at the 58th Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, and won in the Best Country Album category. The title track also won Best Country Solo Performance.
At the 2015 Country Music Association Awards, where he also had a breakout duet with Justin Timberlake of “Tennessee Whiskey,” Chris won the coveted Album of the Year award.
At the 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards, Traveller won Album of the Year, in addition to “Nobody to Blame” also winning Song of the Year.
The Dave Cobb-produced record has since been certified quadruple Platinum by the RIAA, and easily one of the best country albums released in the last 15 years (or maybe even longer, honestly).
I mean, Chris went from being the best-kept secret and a highly sought-after songwriter Nashville to a country superstar pretty much as quickly (from the outside looking in, he had of course been in town for years working on his music) as anyone possibly could.
The Country Music Hall of Fame previously shared some insight into the inspiration behind it and how the album came to be:
“In December 2013, Morgane Stapleton bought Chris Stapleton a 1979 Jeep Cherokee located in Phoenix, Arizona, and they spent eleven days driving the vehicle back to Nashville.
The old Jeep was plagued with mechanical problems, the alternator needed to be replaced, the windshield wipers gave out, and the gas tank couldn’t be fully filled up, but the trip proved musically fruitful: early one morning, Stapleton composed the lyrics for his song ‘Traveller,’ which would be the title track of his first album.
The Stapletons were joined on the trip by photographer Becky Fluke, who took many Polaroid photographs during their travels. The final photo in this series became the “Traveller” album cover image.”
It essentially became a juggernaut and #1 country album, and you’ll still see it on the charts even to this day. It’s impact on the direction of country music (which in 2015, wasn’t exactly stellar), cannot be overstated.
And if you want to hear a little bit more about how the whole project came to be, check out the video below and head to our TikTok page for tons more like it: