Long before the industry collectively exploded with praise for Chris Stapleton, one of pop’s biggest artists recognized his incredible songwriting talents.
In 2011, Adele recorded the track “If It Hadn’t Been for Love”, written by Stapleton and Nashville songwriter Mike Henderson, for a deluxe European version of her record-breaking album 21. In a recent interview with the Nashvile Scene, Henderson recalled the story of how Adele ended up recording a version the song, which was originally performed by Stapleton’s band the SteelDrivers.
“The way Chris and I heard the story, when Adele was touring America, she was spending a lot of time sitting up in front by the driver because she smokes, and she needed a window,” he explained. “She and the driver got to talking. He asked, ‘Do you like bluegrass?’ And she goes, ‘Well, I don’t know, I haven’t really heard a lot of it.'”
“He played the SteelDrivers record for her, and she fell in love with that song, and had her band learn it, and they started doing it,” Henderson said. “But I do not know who the bus driver was. And if I could ever find out, I owe him at least a good steak dinner, a bottle of good whiskey or something.”
In the video below, you’ll see Adele perform a sweeping version of the song for at the iTunes Festival in 2011. “I’m going to do a cover now by an American band called the SteelDrivers,” Adele explains. “They’re amazing. They’ve got a lot of swagger, I think.”
Who knew that even the reigning queen of emotional pop has a soft spot for the SteelDrivers? The surprising revelation just proves that good music stands on its own, no matter what genre it may be classified in.