On Nov. 10, singer-songwriter, Chris Stapleton, released his newest album titled “Higher,” marking the Kentucky native’s fifth studio album. It’s been three years since his previous album, “Starting Over,” but Stapleton has come back with his newest record as if he has never left. From being out on his tour “All-American Roadshow,” to performing the National Anthem at the 57th Super Bowl, to continuing to stay afloat on the radio, this star has never left the main stage. The expectation for his latest music has never been higher, and Chris Stapleton may have just delivered his best album yet.
The 14-track record gives a little taste of everything the Kentucky country singer has to offer. Years into his career, it is known that Stapleton is one of the best vocalists to date and he continues to prove that. This record has songs on it that demonstrate his vocal talents along with songs that allow Stapleton to jam out with his band and showcase his impeccable guitar skills.
Every song on “Higher” was written by Stapleton and a few co-writers; including Miranda Lambert, his producer Dave Cobb, and his wife Morgane Stapleton. Lambert co-wrote the first track, “What Am I Gonna Do,” and you can hear bits of her style throughout the song. The first track sets the tone for the whole album with simple melodies and cleverly written lyrics. With Stapleton writing and co-producing all 14 of these tracks, it gives the listener a greater appreciation for his creativity and intelligence. Stapleton’s strengths are evident throughout his whole music library and as an artist, he knows how to craft songs that show off his unique talent.
Stapleton reuniting with producer Dave Cobb is no surprise. Once again, they produced a record-breaking album that gives the country genre a bluesy side. The track “I Think I’m In Love With You” is the best example of just how soulful both Stapleton and Cobb are with their smooth beat and groovy bassline. Other songs like ‘Trust” and “The Bottom” highlight the blues Stapleton has flowing through his veins.
Tracks like “South Dakota” and “White Horse,” which was the first single from “Higher,” have more of a rock-type feel to them. Stapleton’s ability to belt effortlessly in his songs amazes many. His groovy tones give him an edge compared to most artists because there is no one that sounds quite like Stapleton.
The title track, “Higher,” is a truly special song to Stapleton, which makes sense for it to also be the title of the record. This stripped-back, tender love song gives the listener goosebumps. Obviously singing to his wife, Morgane, the country-soul singer paints a vivid picture of just how much he needs his wife in his life. As Stapleton does, the slowness and simplicity of “Higher” leaks charisma because of his one-of-a-kind vocals and slow-building composition. You can really feel the emotion and true love Stapleton will forever have for Morgane.
It’s no wonder that the Kentucky singer-songwriter has been a gateway for more people to listen to country music. There is no overall theme or story being told on ‘Higher,” but there is an absolute sense of cohesion in this record. Combining all of Stapleton’s genius that he inherited in the music industry, he created a diverse body of work that will never go old or flat. Whether you listen to the record the first time through or the fifth time through, these songs continue to hit the same way every time. The diversity of the record is what makes it so great. No song is lacking in any field, and they all tug deeply on the heartstrings, with every song being relatable to anyone and everyone.
After being quiet for three years, Stapleton did not disappoint with “Higher.” His ability to sing, play guitar, and produce music is simply unmatched by any other artist in the game. The lyrical genius is put on such a high pedestal, and it is very much deserved. Chris Stapleton has done it again by putting out what very well could be considered the Album of the Year. If you have not given “Higher” a listen yet, take a listen as you can never be disappointed with any song Chris Stapleton has in his music discography.