Luke Combs on How Chris Stapleton Prompted Nashville to ‘Snap Out’ of Traditional Outlook on Artists

by Madison Miller

From one revolutionary country artist to another, Luke Combs gave credit where credit was due.

In a recent episode of “The Marty Smith Podcast,” Luke Combs opened up about just how much of an impact Chris Stapleton has had on the music industry. In many ways, Stapleton exists outside of the parameters of a more traditional-sounding country artist.

Luke Combs Talks Ongoing Legacy of Chris Stapleton

Both Stapleton and Luke Combs are similar in some ways for outlier sounds.

“Chris Stapleton happened before I did. I think he definitely kicked the door open for someone to go, ‘Look at this guy…’ I think he made people snap out of it for a minute and go, ‘Oh my God, how could we have missed this guy,'” Combs said on the podcast.

Combs also went on to share that Stapleton had close to 300 something cuts as a songwriter before he got the recognition he deserved on a wide-scale way.

“He just got that opportunity and everybody saw him and so many people loved him,” Luke Combs also said.

Chris Stapleton offered something that country music was really missing at the time — soul. His songs were emotional and deep, something that wasn’t always a priority in the genre.

Luke Combs showed just how much of a Chris Stapleton fan he was in the past too. Stapleton released a song in 2013 before he became massively successful called “What Are You Listening To?” Not as many people were listening, but Combs definitely was.

Luke Combs performed the song in 2020 as part of the #DeepCutsChallenge. He said, “This may not technically be a deep cut but it’s a song that didn’t get as much credit as I think it deserved.”

Stapleton Journey to Nashville

Stapleton spent years in Nashville as one of the most sought-after songwriters in the business. Over the years he had a number of hits under his belt. That includes George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright,” Josh Turner’s “Your Man,” and Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn.” He also recorded with Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Lee Ann Womack, and Kenny Chesney.

According to, Stapleton was even able to land a publishing deal just four days into arriving in Nashville in 2001. Clearly, he had chops as a songwriter. Then, in 2015, Stapleton released his debut solo album called “Traveler.” He was the first artist to ever win Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and New Artist of the Year at the CMAs.

From then, it was all uphill. Although Stapleton is considered a country artist, he has an interesting mingling of genres going on in his music. “I played in a rock’n’roll band. I played in a bluegrass band. I had other things I wanted to do, besides country music. And then a switch was flipped,” Stapleton said to Billboard in 2016.