CMA Male Vocalist of the Year Chris Stapleton is releasing his new album, “Higher.”
Produced by Dave Cobb, Morgane Stapleton and Stapleton, “Higher” was recorded at Nashville’s RCA Studio A. Across its 14 songs, Stapleton showcases his supernatural voice and musical versatility with songs that span genres and defy easy categorization.
Alongside Stapleton (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide electric guitar), the album features Cobb (acoustic guitar, eclectic guitar), J.T. Cure (bass), Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Derek Mixon (drums), Morgane (background vocals, synthesizer, tambourine) and Lee Pardini (organ, piano).
When releasing new music, Chris and his team feel a combination of anticipation and apprehension about how fans will react.
“Whenever we’re releasing new music, we don’t have a specific ritual really, but I think there’s a little bit of apprehension, a little bit of excitement mixed together wondering how fans will react, really,” he says. “I think that’s the main thing going on in our heads when we put something out is we hope whatever we’ve done will be something that people will gravitate to and enjoy.”
The new album follows 2020’s acclaimed “Starting Over,” which went on to win three awards at the 67th Annual Grammys: Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance (“You Should Probably Leave”) and Best Country Song (“Cold”), in addition to earning Album of the Year honors at both the CMA and ACM Awards.
Called a “a sure-footed masterpiece” by the Associated Press, the album landed on “Best of 2020” lists at NPR Music, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Esquire, Vulture, The Tennessean, and The New York Times, who declared, “Chris Stapleton’s roar isn’t designed to scare you off. It’s regal, an announcement of an alpha figure asserting his primacy … on this, his fourth album, the thrill is back.”
Prior to “Starting Over,” Stapleton released a pair of Platinum-certified releases in 2017 – “From A Room: Volume 1” and “From A Room: Volume 2” – as well as his five-times-Platinum breakthrough solo debut album in 2015, “Traveller.”
At the CMA Awards this week, Stapleton picked up the award for Male Vocalist of the Year – his seventh in that category. He won in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021, 2022 and 2023.