While artists in the country music industry have expanded and branched out to other genres, mainly pop radio, pure country lovers can rely on Grammy-award-winner Chris Stapleton to stick to the simple things that make the genre as legendary as it is. The Kentucky native brought his All-American Road Show Tour, supported by new singer-songwriter Brent Cobb and traditional country star Marty Stuart, to a packed Jiffy Lube Live on a crisp, cool October evening, and blew our minds with soulful vocals and effortlessly intricate guitar solos – but we expected nothing less.
The outdoor Virginia venue was crowded with fans of all ages, from music-loving teenagers to millennial couples out for a date night to older folks that idolize Stapleton. He had the full amphitheater on its feet from the very first guitar-fueled outlaw song “Midnight Train to Memphis” to the last song before the encore – everyone’s favorite bluesy ballad “Tennessee Whiskey” from his breakout album Traveller.
Stapleton appeared on a dome-like, sound-structured stage that provided different colored bright lights for each song, and the crowd soon gathered that the unique stage shape was made for really honing in on the perfect projection of his glorious soulful concert sound. His band kept up the powerful energy with a rhythm guitar, a bass, drums, a pedal steel guitar and Stapleton on lead guitar – and when you’re able to both see and hear him on guitar, his hands literally look like they were made to do nothing else.
The setlist swayed toward Chris’ best anthems about drinking whiskey, smoking weed and being lonely and broken-hearted, making it practically effortless to appeal to the Saturday night Virginia crowd while letting them take over the chorus for some of the bigger known tunes. It was an impeccable mix of songs from all three albums, including Grammy-winning album Traveller, From A Room: Volume 1 and From A Room: Volume 2 (both released in 2017). In the ideal medley of pure country hymns, we heard “Broken Halos,” an emotional lullaby newer to country radio right now, and “Nobody to Blame,” his bad-boy break up song that was released in 2015.
Jiffy Lube Live was amped with extended guitar solos and heavy, passion-driven riffs, but even through the mind-blowing instrumentality, Stapleton’s vocals shined brighter, raspier and dreamier than ever. And as one of the best artists of this generation, it’s only fitting that he continues to share his talent from city to city by incorporating three lengthy legs of his All-American Road Show Tour, which finally concludes the first weekend of November in Baltimore after touring since May 2017. See the rest of the tour dates and learn more about Chris Stapleton at www.chrisstapleton.com.
Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr, Bristow, VA; www.bristowamphitheater.com