Chris Stapleton recently made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote his fictional COVID-19 themed Christmas album, and while that project may have been a joke, the hilarious songs sampled from it had plenty of fans wishing that the album was for real.
“You’re not the first person that has requested this,” Stapleton giggled during a virtual press event recently. “I think we’re gonna have to have a team of people investigating whether or not we should be making this record.
“Give the people what they want!” the singer crowed.
Of course, Stapleton’s appearance on Kimmel was also due to the fact that he had a real record on the way: Starting Over, his fourth studio album. That project arrived Friday (Nov. 13), and immediately had listeners gravitating towards tracks like “Maggie’s Song,” a tear-jerking tribute to the life of Stapleton’s family dog who died during the album-making process.
That’s not the only time on the record that Stapleton explored life’s more difficult, painful side. Starting Over also includes “Watch You Burn,” the singer’s angry, cathartic response to the 2017 mass shooting that claimed the lives of 60 concertgoers at Jason Aldean’s headlining set during the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. Elsewhere on the album are songs that reflect more generally on the ups and downs of everyday life, such as the title track, which explores the different ways in which people find themselves “Starting Over” either by choice or by circumstance.
But while Stapleton knows he’s often thought of as an artist who explores life’s more serious aspects, he’s no stranger to goofing around onstage either — even if comedic relief might not always be his calling card.
“I mean, you can find plenty of silliness that I’ve participated in if you wanna dig a little bit,” the singer points out.
Plus, he adds, his Kimmel appearance was special because of the unbeatable team of comedic writers helping him create his fictional holiday project.
“You have at your disposal some of the greatest comic writers in the United States of America, maybe even the world, on these late-night shows,” Stapleton goes on to say. “The Kimmel guys have always been great to work with, and they propped me up a whole lot. They can make me look funny in times when it’s actually just me doing what they told me to do. So all credit where credit is due. I’m just kind of a conduit for their funniness.”
It remains to be seen whether Stapleton’s fan-favorite COVID-19 Christmas album will make the jump from joke to reality. In the meantime, however, Starting Over is available now.