Chris Stapleton played acoustic tear-jerker “Drunkard’s Prayer” on the Jan. 30 episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The intimate performance took a much different tone than his rocking appearances on Saturday Night Live and the Grammys.
Lately, Stapleton’s live television performances were noteworthy because of who else took the stage. On SNL, fellow Kentucky native Sturgill Simpson wowed fans with his masterful guitar work. The next night at the Grammys, Stapleton made country singers’ dream duet come true by teaming with the ageless Emmylou Harris for a Tom Petty tribute.
This time, Stapleton flew solo for an unplugged rendition of an already minimal and sparse cut off From A Room: Volume 2. Stapleton’s mighty voice, a cross between Travis Tritt and an old soul singer, takes center stage. His guitar playing and storytelling skills also shine during this dimly-lit performance.
Previous television appearances put over Stapleton’s talents as a Southern rock showman singing country songs. This time, he came across more as a composer of heartfelt songs, informed by country and blues-rock’s rich pasts.
As for Colbert, the South Carolina native seems to genuinely appreciate his more talented musical guests, making him a solid replacement for Nanci Griffith devotee David Letterman.