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Chris Stapleton – Starting Over (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Chris Stapleton – Starting Over (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 53:40 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Country
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Mercury Nashville

Hailed for songwriting skill and an unironic embrace of outlaw country, Chris Stapleton, on his fourth album, puts his vocal versatility on impressive display. Supported by a moody, shadowy string section, he unfurls a torch-singer side on “Cold,” a heartbreaker that lives up to its name in feel and lyrics—”Why you got to be so cold/ Why you got to go and cut me like a knife/ Put our love on ice.” The lowdown-and-dirty guitar of “Whiskey Sunrise” is matched for power by a wailing blues delivery from Stapleton. And he cuts loose with a Southern-rock howl on the Tom Petty-esque swamp stomp “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice.” An early Petty influence is alive and present across Starting Over, with Heartbreakers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench guesting on guitar and Hammond B3, respectively. Stapleton co-wrote the simmer-to-fury “Watch You Burn” with Campbell, and the guitarist’s signature style is front-and-center on “Arkansas,” a heavy Southern-rock blues burner celebrating the underrated beauty of the Ozarks. The ghost of Guy Clark also blesses the sessions, as Stapleton covers a back-to-back shot of the songwriter’s “Worry B Gone” and “Old Friends” and former with a velocity that makes Willie Nelson’s gentle version sound cute. (A flow-like-the-creek cover of John Fogerty’s “Joy of My Life” is more faithful.) As on previous releases, Stapleton’s wife and collaborator Morgane Stapleton lends angelic vocal harmonies, sweetening the sobering, Kristofferson-sounding ballad “When I’m With You,” which find her husband taking stock of middle age and where it goes from there: “I’m 40 years old/ And it looks like the end of the rainbow ain’t no pot of gold.” She also shows up on that song’s spiritual flip side and the album’s title track, an optimistic, stripped-down guitar jangle: “I can be your lucky penny/ You can be my four-leaf clover.” Indeed, for all his tough-guy appearance, there’s always been a tender side to Stapleton, and he shows every bit of it on “Maggie’s Song,” an absolute tearjerker about a found dog’s life and death that’s teed up and ready for a pickup truck commercial. (Nothing wrong with that.) And lest anyone ever doubt his outlaw tendencies, Stapleton ends on an absolutely gorgeous kiss-off to the country capital: “So long Nashville, Tennessee/ You can’t have what’s left of me.” – Shelly Ridenour


1. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over
2. Chris Stapleton – Devil Always Made Me Think Twice
3. Chris Stapleton – Cold
4. Chris Stapleton – When I’m With You
5. Chris Stapleton – Arkansas
6. Chris Stapleton – Joy Of My Life
7. Chris Stapleton – Hillbilly Blood
8. Chris Stapleton – Maggie’s Song
9. Chris Stapleton – Whiskey Sunrise
10. Chris Stapleton – Worry B Gone
11. Chris Stapleton – Old Friends
12. Chris Stapleton – Watch You Burn
13. Chris Stapleton – You Should Probably Leave
14. Chris Stapleton – Nashville, TN


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