Chris Stapleton encountered one of the most frightening prospects a musician can face earlier this week, postponing a Tuesday show in Santa Barbara, California, after losing his voice. In a note to his fans, the Kentucky native apologized profusely and said he was en route to a doctor.
Fortunately, the Grammy, CMA and ACM award-winning singer-songwriter roared back to life with a triumphant performance at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles Wednesday night, quieting any fears that his mighty rasp was in danger.
On hand to give him a boost were opening act Anderson East and surprise guest Miranda Lambert (East’s girlfriend), who joined Stapleton’s band for a run through the Temptations classic “My Girl.” East had joined Stapleton for the number previously, but Wednesday they also coaxed Lambert onto the stage to shimmy and sing alongside Stapleton’s wife and indispensable harmony vocalist Morgane, as East and Stapleton traded verses. At the song’s end Stapleton said to East, “I’ve got my girl and you’ve got yours, it works out. She’s gonna whip my ass later.”
If you had been unaware of the Santa Barbara postponement, nothing about Stapleton’s stellar performance at the Greek would have hinted that he was dealing with voice problems. Morgane told the enthusiastic crowd that she wasn’t sure the band was going to make the gig and promised, “We are going to give it everything we got for you all tonight.” And they did.
Stapleton — backed by his crack four piece, including harmonica legend Mickey Raphael — held nothing back on incendiary takes of “Fire Away,” “Traveller,” “Crash and Burn,” the hit he penned for Thomas Rhett, and a clutch of covers, including his bluesified take on Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” into his own “The Devil Named Music.”
He also continued to pay tribute to the late, great Merle Haggard with a rendition of “Silver Wings.” Stapelton recounted that he was fortunate enough to once play on the same bill with Haggard and that the legend took in his performance as well. Apparently, Haggard enjoyed it so much he sent a joint over to the tour bus. Stapleton said that they were so honored by the gesture, they still haven’t smoked it
Stapleton carries the momentum from the Greek into the annual Stagecoach Festival this weekend in Indio, California, the site of Coachella, which he also played earlier this month, the only artist to perform at both festivals. And he announced this morning that the Santa Barbara performance has been rescheduled for May 10th.