Thursday, October 8th, 2020

Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

At some point we should start writing Chris and Morgane Stapleton, based on how our blurbs keep reading…


Alfred Soto: Oh, dear: (1) an acoustic song (2) by Chris Stapleton (3) about the road. There’s your parental advisory.

Thomas Inskeep: Boy, it didn’t take long for Stapleton’s formula to calcify, did it? It’s another “deep” song, played on acoustic guitar, with backup vocals from his wife Morgane. Your enjoyment of it will largely depend on how much you enjoyed his last 10 such songs.

Katherine St Asaph: I much prefer Chris Stapleton doing feel-good Johnny and June duets than yarling realcore.

Michael Hong: Chris Stapleton has always felt as “outlaw country” as Holes: blazing on the rare occasion, but mostly just the feeling of dry heat and lonesome tumbleweeds. Instead, the draw of “Starting Over” is its warmth, and much of the credit goes to his wife Morgane Stapleton, whose voice is a nice counter to Chris Stapleton’s gruff rasp. That’s what makes “Starting Over” sound like the sunrise — the bleakest ending is ignored as a possibility. Still, it could use a bit more heft.

Juana Giaimo: Although the lyrics are about new adventures, “Starting Over” is far from having an epic tone. I’m glad it opts instead for an intimate production where the beat and the bass are soft and the guitar strumming shines. 

Alex Clifton: A warm hug of a song filled with everything I seek out in comfort music: acoustic guitar, gentle harmonies, and recognition that while life isn’t always easy, it can be worth it. I’ve heard songs like this hundreds of times, but that doesn’t detract from Stapleton’s lovely take.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The hook is nice– Stapleton walks up and down his limited range like he’s taking a stroll in a big backyard. The rest is just as pleasant, a sparse arrangement with a few nice flourishes (the hints of organ, the harmonies) that bring joy. Yet nothing on “Starting Over” rises above the level of adequate rootsiness– it neither has the ambition nor the craft to really shine.

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