Before he was showered with awards and critical acclaim, Chris Stapleton was performing renditions of some of his biggest cuts to small crowds in tiny venues.
Since the release of his first solo album Traveller, which subsequently led to his surprise sweep at this year’s CMA Awards, he’s become one of the most talked-about artists of 2015. It’s hard to believe that Stapleton’s talent was hiding in plain sight for years as he regularly performed in small clubs and bars across the country.
This video shows Stapleton on stage during a small songwriter’s showcase in his home state of Kentucky back in 2012. With only his voice and acoustic guitar in hand, he flawlessly infuses a southern rock edge into the sound of Kenny Chesney’s 2007 smash hit, “Never Wanted Nothing More.”
The track, which was Chesney’s fastest-climbing number one single, was penned by Stapleton and fellow songwriter Ronnie Bowman. It was one of the first major hits for Stapleton as a songwriter, who has since earned number ones with cuts from Thomas Rhett (“Crash and Burn”), Luke Bryan (“Drink a Beer”), and Darius Rucker (“Come Back Song”).