I’ve been singing the praises of Chris Stapleton since before he even became a known name in country music. It seems like after every award show when Stapleton walks away with a slew of trophies, I see people commenting on social media about how unfair it is that he stole awards from bigger named stars and that they don’t even know who he is.

Let me tell you who Stapleton is. Stapleton is the son of a coal miner, he’s a husband and a father. He's a songwriter who’s written songs such as Love's Gonna Make It Alright, recorded by George Strait, and Come Back Song, recorded by Darius Rucker. As a matter of fact, over 150 of Stapleton's songs have appeared on albums that were recorded by major names such as Adele, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley. Stapleton has even contributed to several movie soundtracks, including one your kids might have seen a time or two- Cars 2.

My first introduction to Stapleton came while watching Little Big Town cover the Oakridge Boys hit, Elvira. They were on stage and then this raspy, bluesy, attention-grabbing voice joined them, and there he was- Chris Stapleton. In that instant, Stapleton completely stole the show from everyone else on the stage.

Remember those hot summer nights when you’d sit with your grandparents on the porch, a cold glass of ice tea in hand, swatting at mosquitoes and watch the sun go down while the sound of blues wafted from the kitchen radio? If the memory is fuzzy, you need to pick up Traveller, Stapleton’s debut solo album. One listen to Tennessee Whiskey and you’ll be transported back to a simpler time. A time when songs told stories and the emotion in the singer’s voice was so real that you could feel it in your bones.

Stapleton’s Fire Away, takes a gut-wrenching look at a relationship that’s gone horribly wrong and ends with a pair of suicide attempts while subtly promoting mental health awareness through the Campaign to Change Direction. And then, there’s Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore, a song that will make you want to pick up the phone and call your daddy and tell him how much you love him before you can’t.

There isn’t one song on Stapleton’s Traveller album that won’t conjure up some sort of powerful emotion which in turn will make you feel as though someone is squeezing your heart in their hands.

But more than anything, Stapleton has an incredible knack for weaving stories into songs that are relatable to people of all ages. Even my toddler stops what he’s doing, sits down and sways whenever I play any of Stapleton’s music. His music really is that electrifying, and Traveller is the single greatest album in any genre of music that I’ve bought in the past decade, although I have to tell you that not all of the lyric content is safe for little ears, so you might want to listen to the album first, and then skip over the adult content tracks before playing the album around your kids.

Traci Taylor

If you’re looking for something different, Stapleton would be it. He tells stories like Janis Joplin and sounds a bit like Hank Williams Junior with a touch of Lynyrd Skynyrd. After giving his Traveller album a listen, you’ll understand why Stapleton sweeps award shows and is on the lips of anyone who’s anyone in country music.

[via Nash Country Daily/Herald Dispatch/Rolling Stone/ChangeDirection]