Did you catch Chris Stapleton’s collaborations last week? You may have missed them, but the singer/songwriter had three new collaborations last week. Not that this is a surprise. The dude is consistently one of the most in-demand collaborators both in country music and also in other genres. 

Stapleton had a long history in Nashville before he was famous. He was the singer and guitarist for the bluegrass band the Steeldrivers, and then he fronted a rock band called the Jompson Brothers. As a songwriter, he’d co-written songs for Kenny Chesney, Patty Loveless, Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker, George Strait, Thomas Rhett, Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean. 

Being an incredible songwriter, that’s more talent than most people could ask for. But Stapleton also has an incredibly soulful singing voice, and he’s one of Nashville’s baddest guitar players. And by “baddest,” we mean “best.”

In May of 2015, he released his solo debut, Traveller. He had a great buzz. But when he performed at the CMAs in November of that year, it changed his career overnight. Perhaps you remember the performance. He performed with Justin Timberlake: they did “Tennessee Whiskey” from Traveller and then they played Justin’s “Drink You Away.” The video of the performance was shared across social media, and his album rocketed to number one on the Billboard 200. The record went platinum by early the following year and was later certified six times platinum. 

Clearly, collaborations are something that Stapleton excels at, and he’s worked with lots of artists, from within and outside of country, pretty consistently in the years since. Over the years, he’s reunited with Timberlake (on 2018’s “Say Something”), and he’s worked with Pink (“Love Me Anyway” and “Just Say I’m Sorry“), Sheryl Crow (“Tell Me When It’s Over”), Santana (“Joy”), Taylor Swift (“I Bet You Think About Me”), Tom Morello (“The War Inside”) and Carly Pearce (“We Don’t Fight Anymore”). We also have to shout out his one-off hard rock jam with, believe it or not, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars. If you haven’t heard “Blow,” you need to. These guys had a better rock song than most rock bands these days. Check it out:

He’s also an award show staple: you never know who he’ll perform with. He’s played with Stevie Wonder (at the 2023 Grammy Awards), with Maren Morris and gospel legend Mavis Staples at the 2018 CMAs, with H.E.R. at the 2021 CMT Music Awards, with Brandi Carlile at a tribute to late legendary rock singer Chris Cornell in 2019, among other epic appearances. 

And just last week, he added three more cool performances to his long list. Did you catch all of them? 

  • With Dua Lipa at the ACM Awards

    If you only caught one of these collaborations, this was probably the one. Chris performed “Think I’m In Love With You” (from 2023’s Higher) with pop superstar Dua Lipa at the ACM Awards (and they were accompanied by a string section to boot!). Lipa’s performances tend to be big productions with dancers, so it was interesting to see her as part of the trio with Chris and Morgane Stapleton. It’s a great version and hopefully it’ll see an official release at some point.

  • With Jennifer Hudson and the War And Treaty on ‘The Jennifer Hudson Show’

    Chris had performed with J-Hud at the CMA Awards in 2021, and he stopped by her show with his band last week to perform another Higher song, “Loving You On My Mind.” As if Chris, Morgane and Jennifer didn’t provide enough vocal power, they also had the incredible duo, the War and Treaty, with them. Again, we’re hoping that an official version of this sees the light of day at some point. Chris’ original versions of these songs from Higher were amazing. But it’s fascinating to hear how they sound with other vocalists.

  • With Slash on his new album, 'Orgy Of The Damned'

    The Guns N Roses guitarist might be as busy as Chris is. Guns N Roses tour frequently and is apparently working on a new album. Slash also has his solo band with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, who have four albums to their name, and are also often on the road. But Slash’s new project, released last week, Orgy Of The Damned, is a tribute to the blues and R&B music that he loves. Like Chris, Slash is a great collaborator, and on this album the singers include Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Gary Clark Jr. and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. Chris sings on the song “Oh Well.” It’s a Fleetwood Mac cover, but it’s not from the Rumours era. The song predates Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie joining the band. It’s by the original lineup, which is more like Cream or Jimi Hendrix than the the more famous ‘70s version of the group. It’s a great take on the song. Unfortunately, Chris just sings (incredibly powerfully) on it. But he doesn’t play guitar. We would have loved to hear a six-string duel between him and Slash, but maybe next time.

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