Chris Stapleton, From a Room: Volume 2 | Album Review
Ever-consistent and ever-compelling, country music standout Chris Stapleton returns with another superb album with ‘From a Room: Volume 2.’
Chris Stapleton returned with a bang in 2017 with From a Room: Volume 1. From a Room: Vol. 1 was comprised of just nine songs, but showcased the musicianship and the consistency of Stapleton. The expectation was that a second album would be released sooner than later, hence the announcement of From a Room: Volume 2 (December 1). Also comprised of just nine songs, it’s another worthwhile addition to the country singer’s collection.
From a Room: Volume 2 initiates with a Kevin Welch cover, “Millionaire.” Despite being a cover, Stapleton does a superb job of making it feel like his own. The sound of the record is traditional and throwback. This old-school approach continues to make him incredibly appealing and refreshing. Expectedly, he delivers a top-notch vocal performance that thrives off nuance, spirit, and authenticity. Something else that stands out about this particular song is the vocal harmonization (he duets with an uncredited female vocalist). This is how you kick off an album, friends.
“Hard Livin’” shines from the jump. Perhaps it’s the groove or the sick, souped-up, classic-sounding guitars. One thing’s for sure, “Hard Livin’” is incredibly spirited, adding some rock to Stapleton’s awesome outlaw, traditionalist country sound. Excellent vocals, killer music, and all in all well-rounded.
Chris Stapleton continues to check off the boxes on “Scarecrow in the Garden,” the second single from From a Room: Volume 2. The sound remains traditional and doesn’t blur the lines of country music like today’s contemporary brand. As always, Stapleton sounds superb vocally, filled with spirit and authenticity. Once more, he harmonizes like a champ with his female ‘partner in crime.’ The chorus is notable.
“There’s a scarecrow in the garden / That looks like Lucifer / And I’ve been reading Revelations / With my bare feet in the river.”
“Nobody’s Lonely Tonight”
Stapleton slackens the pace on “Nobody’s Lonely Tonight,” showcasing the beauty of his voice. Even though this is a ballad, he continues to showcase power and incredible grit as he sings. It’s the coarse moments of his vocal performance that arguably, impress the most. It’s not all vocals though – there’s plenty of time for the music to shine, including a compelling, smooth guitar solo.
“Tryin’ To Untangle My Mind” shimmers from the start. This is good ole, old-school, traditional country music at its best. Stapleton embraces outlaw country, clearly contrasting the dominant, modern, pop-oriented style. Stapleton gives his all and couldn’t care less about being anachronistic or old-school. Instead, he goes against the grain and trends, and comes out on top. His artistry and skill is impeccable. Indeed, there’s a simplicity to “A Simple Song.” There’s nothing overblown, just a beautiful, simple, and thoughtful song and overall performance. Is it the crème de la crème of From a Room: Volume 2? No, but another worthwhile addition.
“Midnight Train to Memphis”
Prudently, Stapleton cranks up the energy and intensity level on the rocking “Midnight Train to Memphis.” Safe to say, Mr. Stapleton is ‘turned all the way up’ and it’s nothing short of awesome. Regardless of your musical genre of preference, true music lovers will be onboard with this one. He settles down on “Drunkard’s Prayer,” which feels like a slower companion piece to “Them Stems.” Again, don’t let the slow tempo fool you – Stapleton still exhibits plenty of oomph and ample authenticity. What better way to close an album than with “Friendship”? This easygoing, feel-good number is a stark contrast to “Death Row,” the moody closer for From a Room: Volume 1.
Throughout the course of From a Room: Volume 2, Chris Stapleton embraces outlaw country, contrasting the dominant, modern, pop-oriented style. For this alone, he deserves kudos to the nth degree. Three notable albums into his career, he remains both compelling and incredibly consistent. Take your pick which 2017 Stapleton album is better – it’s a toss-up.
Gems: “Millionaire,” “Hard Livin’,” “Tryin’ To Untangle My Mind” & “Midnight Train to Memphis”