Release Date: Dec 1, 2017
Record label: Mercury Nashville
When Chris Stapleton released the first installment of From A Room in May of 2017, it seemed possible that the two records would add up to a grand statement, but From A Room: Volume 2 is essentially the mirror image of its predecessor. Both records clock in at a swift 32 minutes, lasting no more than nine songs -- brief even by the standards of '60s or '70s country, when it was common to release two or three records a year. Intentionally or not, Stapleton winds up evoking this era with the two volumes of From A Room, neither of which is dependent on the other but neither of which can be seen without its sibling.
Like its predecessor from earlier this year, volume two of Chris Stapleton's From A Room is a brew of country, folk, blues and Southern rock and soul, recorded at Nashville's vintage RCA Studio A with producer Dave Cobb. The band's the same but leaner, stripped to guitars, bass, drums and Stapleton's mighty voice, with harmonies by his wife, Morgane, smartly moved up in the mix. Again, the songs feel like unearthed classics.
Chris Stapleton toiled for nearly 15 years to become an overnight sensation. After moving to Nashville in the early 2000s, he played in a bluegrass band and co-founded a Southern rock group whose only claim to fame was opening for Zac Brown, all while writing songs for artists like Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, and Lee Ann Womack, among others. He tried his hand at a solo career, releasing a single in 2013 that went nowhere.
Ever since Traveler turned him into a champion of country traditionalism, Chris Stapleton has refused to make anything like a grand statement. Instead, his two From A Room volumes have arrived without overarching themes or concepts; each one is simply a collection of sturdy songs, performed with warmth and passion. But don't knock these albums for their humbleness.
"The Visitor " Neil Young & Promise of the Real The question was never if Neil Young would release an anti-Trump record, but when. "The Visitor" reunites Young with the Lukas Nelson-led band Promise of the Real for a collection of protest songs that reaffirm his well-documented passion for the environment and communal activism. The record alternates between Crazy Horse-style rockers and gentle acoustic folk, though as always Young throws a few curveballs.