Prior to 2015, Chris Stapleton was the best kept secret in music, except it wasn’t a secret to anyone actually in music.
I was recently listening to Dierks Bentley’s bluegrass EP Live From Telluride, a 2021 passion project amid the Covid pandemic, and then I also dove back into Up On The Ridge, Dierks’ bluegrass studio album from back in 2010.
Dierks most recent studio album Gold was pretty solid but I’m still kind of hoping he takes another run a full-length bluegrass project. He teamed up with Billy Strings, Charlie Worsham, and bluegrass legends Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, and Bryan Sutton for a song called “High Note,”on the album, and it’s really in the wheelhouse for Dierks.
Anyways, I stumbled upon this hidden gem from back in the studio during the recording of Up On The Ridge, and you can hear Dierks say:
“Chris is probably the best singer in the world. He’s so powerful, when you hear him on ‘Fallin’ For You,’ his voice is so strong.”
Referring to Chris Stapleton of course, he was laying down some soul-tingling background vocals on a track called, “Fallin’ For You.”
So my question is this…
If Chris was writing all these songs back then, songs for huge acts like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Josh Turner, and Darius Rucker, and if way back in 2010, Dierks was calling him the best singer in the business… then why the hell did it take a Justin Timberlake duet in 2015, at some stupid awards show, for this dude to get on the map?
I mean, what was everybody waiting for? Let me guess… he didn’t “look the part.”
Back around 2010, Chris was playing in a little bluegrass band called The SteelDrivers, so it’s not like he was completely hidden from the music world, but I still can’t get over the fact that Nashville has this dude relegated to writing songs and singing the occasional background vocal.
Now, here we are, nearly 15 years later, and EVERYBODY knows the name Chris Stapleton. The man is a full-blown superstar, selling out stadiums across the country, and everybody in music wants him on the track. Even George Strait, who only plays a handful of shows a year, wants Chris on the bill.
And then as far as collaborations go, we’re talking Taylor Swift, Adele, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Pink, Carlos Santana, Tom Morello, Metallica, Kelly Clarkson and more.
Chris’ audience changed, his bank account changed, but one thing stayed the same… he’s the best singer in the world.
Hear Dierks and Chris sing “Fallin’ For You.”
Stapleton also lent some background vocals to a song called “Hurt Somebody,” the final track off Dierks’ 2014 Riser album.