Kentucky-born, Nashville-based singer and songwriter keeps it scaled down as profile grows

In 2015, Chris Stapleton swept the Country Music Awards on the modest strengths of his solo debut, Traveller, raising expectations for the eventual follow up. But rather than going big on From a Room: Volume 1, released earlier this year, the Kentucky-born, Nashville-based singer and songwriter doubled down on his simple, stripped-down approach, recording nine soul-tinged country tracks as sturdy and beautiful as a hand-crafted, wooden armoire.

In spite of his growing stature as a solo artist, Stapleton is a songwriter first (he's written for everyone from Ashley Monroe to Adele), and his craftsmanship and attention to detail shine through on tracks such as the creeping, bluesy “Death Row” and aching album highlight “Either Way,” where the smallest exchanges (“The only time we'll ever talk is when the monthly bills are due”) only heighten the complexity in a fractured relationship.