‘Chris Stapleton: Since 1978’ Exhibit Set to Open at Country Music Hall of Fame

by TK Sanders
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The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will soon unveil an exhibit dedicated the country music superstar Chris Stapleton. The exhibit, called Chris Stapleton: Since 1978, will highlight the artist’s journey from his Kentucky roots, to his turn as a Nashville songwriter, to his rise as one of music’s most prominent voices. Chris Stapleton: Since 1978 will run from July 1, 2022, to May 14, 2023.

Like many popular artists, Stapleton cut his teeth as a songwriter before breaking out in 2015 with his album, Traveller. The Hall will feature many of Stapleton’s personal music possession, including the 1966 Gibson Trini Lopez Standard electric guitar he used during the recording of Traveller. The Pendleton flannel jacket, Dee Cee denim western shirt, and Manuel leather vest he wore on the cover will also be on display.

A few other unique items fans can see at the exhibit include his Waffle House Golden Waffle award (for most jukebox plays in a given year), a LEGO model of Stapleton and his band onstage, and his first guitar amplifier, a 1960s Gibson GA-8 Discoverer, which he used extensively in the early 2000s.

Chris Stapleton enrolled in Vanderbilt University as a biomedical engineering major

Chris Stapleton was born April 15, 1978, in Lexington, Kentucky. He was raised in Staffordsville, a rural, mountainous town in Johnson County of eastern Kentucky. He credits much of passion for music to his parents’ eclectic tastes. A child of the 80s and 90s, Stapleton listened to classic artists like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, but also enjoyed rappers like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Of course, rock outfits like Tom Petty, Aerosmith, and other similar artists also captured his attention.

As he aged, he also fell more in love with music; until he finally dropped out of Vanderbilt University in 1997 to work odd jobs and write songs. With encouragement from songwriter Steve Leslie, Stapleton moved back to Nashville in 2001 with dreams of becoming a full-time writer.

In 2003, and he scored his first Billboard #1 hit with Josh Turner’s “Your Man,” released in 2006. He has also earned Billboard #1 song writing credits with Kenny Chesney (“Never Wanted Nothing More,” 2007); Darius Rucker (“Come Back Song,” 2010); Luke Bryan (“Drink a Beer,” 2014); and Thomas Rhett (“Crash and Burn,” 2015).

As lead singer for the SteelDrivers, a raucous bluegrass outfit with plenty of soul, Stapleton became known for his thick, raspy voice. Solo artists began hiring him to sing backup on their studio efforts; and soon, he began penning his breakout hit album, Traveller, released two years after a road trip that inspired the music.

His subsequent “overnight” success is well-known by country music fans. Stapleton remains a top-selling recording artist today; and has accumulated plenty of awards to prove it, including nine Academy of Country Music awards, fourteen CMA awards, and eight Grammys.

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