Since Chris Stapleton’s Traveller became a surprise hit following his CMA Awards triumph last November, fans have been eager to hear how the singer-songwriter will follow up the album. In April, Stapleton gave them their first taste of new music, debuting the twang-heavy song “Hard Living” onstage at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California. Since then, he’s been weaving it into setlists on his summer tour.
Stapleton says he and his core band, which includes wife Morgane Stapleton on vocals, bassist J.T. Cure and drummer Derek Mixon, often try out new material before shows.
“We try to have extended soundchecks, take a couple hours, where the first 45 minutes is actually soundchecking and the back half is working on new songs, or we goof around and jam for an hour,” he tells Rolling Stone Country.
“Chris plugged in a new amp,” she says, “and it started a whole new thing. Nobody looks forward.”
“Cause we’re having fun,” adds Stapleton, citing one of his chief influences. “We are huge Freddie King fans, and not that anyone could be him, but we’ll get in a blues jam and try to channel some of that.”
While it’s unclear if “Hard Living” will ultimately end up on any new album, Stapleton says he and the band have additional songs on the drawing board. “We’ve been working on other things, experimenting.”
Watch Stapleton perform “Hard Living” during a May tour stop in North Carolina above.