Album review: Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

By Dalton Grijalva

2020 has been a year of trials and tribulations, but throughout the terrible year there’s been small glimpses of greatness. Enter the beautiful baritone voice of Chris Stapleton.

“Starting Over” is the fourth studio album released by Stapleton, the multi award winning face of country music. The cover art may be simple with only a white cover and Chris’s name and title on the corner, but the complexities and storytelling in the album is some of his finest since his debut album, “Traveler”.

The starting track is fittingly titled “Starting Over,” a very wholesome song about going somewhere with the person you love finding a new destination together. It’s a great song for beginning a road trip.

Chris’s baritone voice is at its best when he uses a raspy tone on blues songs like “Devil Made Me Think Twice,” “Arkansas,” “Whiskey Sunrise,” and Worry B Gone. 

However, whilst Chris’s voice is at its best in the blues, I believe his songwriting is at its best on slower songs, as he has a very good way of expressing meaning and emotion within a five minute period. The prime example  and the song that’s grown the most on me is “Nashville Tennessee,” a song which at first was  throw away song but the more I listen to the more I like, as it is a song about outgrowing a place in this case Nashville and becoming more than just someone in a town.

My favorite songs on the album combine all the elements of what makes Chris such an amazing artist but also add some great flavor. “Cold” is a pretty experimental country song that begins with a very somber and haunting piano riff. the sound all around sounds like something ripped straight out of a James Bond movie. You can hear the fury in Stapleton’s voice on “Watch You Burn,” maybe his most personal and emotional song. It’s a song that sends chills down my spine. “Maggie’s Song” a song about his pup is the saddest and happiest song I’ve heard in a long time and if you don’t shed a tear you may not have a soul.

This might be the best album we’ve gotten this year, in all genres of music, not just country. If you haven’t listened to it yet do yourself a favor and put on some headphones and do so from start to finish. You’ll be sure to start it over.