Five Songs Chris Stapleton Should Cover
Make no mistake, I'm 100% in favor of Chris Stapleton performing original tunes. He's one of the best songwriters in the business and to deprive us of his work would be criminal. But let's also not dismiss his ability to do amazing things with cover tunes. His soulful, bluesy take on George Jones' "Tennessee Whiskey" was not a highlight of Traveller, but the duet he performed with Justin Timberlake was the highlight of the 2015 CMAs. Speaking of the CMAs, how great was he with Dwight Yoakam on Seven Spanish Angels two months ago? Or back to 2015, for the John Lennon special on AMC, performing with Sheryl Crow and Brandon Flowers on "Don't Let Me Down." Not to mention country is littered with cover albums, tribute albums, and notably the final 10 years of Johnny Cash's career when he was releasing the American Recordings albums that featured covers of songs by Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Bob Marley and Tom Petty, to name a few.
With all that in mind, I've hand picked 5 songs Chris Stapleton could and/or should cover for his next album (he's rumored to be working on). Failing that, how about a covers album? Dylan, Lennon, Bowie, Cash, Yoakam, Ray Charles have all done cover albums. Don't see why Stapleton can't... anyway.
1 - 'Long As I Can See the Light' by Creedence Clearwater Revival
The first time I heard Stapleton, I couldn't help but notice the audible similarities to the great John Fogerty in his voice. This would be an easy lay-up of a cover, as they both have a considerable amount of soul in their voice, on top of CCR's Southern Rock/Bayou Blues sound. Just smear on a layer of Stapleton's drawl and twang, and you're good to go.
See also: Green River, Travellin' Band or Up Around The Bend
2 - 'Running Down a Dream' by Tom Petty
Stapleton will actually be opening for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers at Wrigley Field and for two nights at Summerfest this year, and depending on Petty's setlist, this could also be a good shot for Stapleton to try out a cover. I originally thought Tim McGraw would do a great job with this track, but nope... gotta be Chris.
See also: Jammin' Me or Don't Come Around Here No More
3 - 'Stay With Me' by The Faces
Before he went soft rock in the 80s, Rod Stewart was a really great post-British Invasion blues rock front man for The Faces which had some decent success and even better tracks. I think Stapleton would crush Stay With Me.
See also: Ooh La La and Stewart's Maggie May
4- 'In The City' by Joe Walsh
The Eagles are no stranger to having their work covered by by country artists, but this one is slightly different. This was written by Joe Walsh separate of The Eagles, and it was written about life in the city, for a movie about street gangs in New York City, based on Walsh's own experiences growing up in New York City. Sometimes even with the same lyrics, a singer's approach can change the meaning, and this could 100% be about trials and tribulations of living and working Nashville.
See also: I Can Play that Rock & Roll or James Gang's Funk #49
5 - 'Closer To Home (I'm Your Captain)' by Grandfunk Railroad
A song about sailors seems more in tune with Zac Brown Band or Sturgill Simpson... Chris could put some power behind the vocals. And I wouldn't be opposed to a team-up. Maybe a Highwaymen: The Next Generation super group type deal. Chris, Zac, Sturgill. Book it... Done.
What do you think? What song should Stapleton cover?