The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (2023)

The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (1)

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ByCaitlyn Wisser/Oct. 14, 2021 4:13 pm EDT

Chris Stapleton is one of the five impressive country artists to be honored as Country Music Television's Artist of the Year 2021, per CMT. The event, which aired October 13, celebrated Stapleton and his fellow honorees (Kelsea Ballerini, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, and Luke Combs) with special behind-the-scenes looks at the artists' careers, unique performances and collaborations, and sweet moments congratulating the winners. The 2021 CMT Artists of the Year have dominated the country charts and have really made a name for themselves with their artistic efforts, making them the obvious choices to receive this accolade.

And it's no surprise Stapleton is among these honorees. An incredible performer and songwriter, he has really exploded onto the country music scene, and his 2020 album, "Starting Over," was no exception to his fantastic work. It received overall favorable reviews from critics and fans alike, and Holly Gleason from American Songwriter called it a "masterwork of country soul stretched over a frame of lean blues/rock." That description can almost be extended to the artist himself, who is somewhat of an enigma on the country music scene and doesn't quite fit into one box.

So, just who is Chris Stapleton? Keep on reading to find out the untold truth of one of country music's biggest stars.

Chris Stapleton doesn't fall into one genre of music

The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (2)

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Perhaps one of the most defining things about Chris Stapleton's music is that it doesn't land in one specific genre. While yes, he is defined as a country artist, his musical tastes and skills extend far beyond that. As a songwriter, Stapleton has written for a variety of artists, including Kelly Clarkson and Justin Timberlake, and more traditional country singers like Thomas Rhett and Luke Bryan (perRolling Stone). And he's lent his voice to numerous works throughout the years, collaborating with Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and even Pink.

His ability to create within any genre is incredibly unique and makes him stand out, though it wasn't always something he appreciated. "I didn't used to be okay with it," he toldThe New York Times. "Everybody gets through a phase where it's 'Ah, if I could just sound just like Vince Gill.' Then you figure out that you have your own voice, whether you like it or not, and that's what you should stick with."

(Video) Chris Stapleton Biography

And stick with it he has, allowing him to switch genres between bluegrass, rock, pop-country, and old-school country with ease. He has been successful in almost every iteration of music he's attempted, from his bluegrass band The SteelDrivers to his Southern rock group, The Jompson Brothers. Only when he embraced who he was, however, did he finally succeed, garnering numerous awards from his solo efforts.

He sort of fell into music

For such a skillful musician, Chris Stapleton almost didn't become one. A native of eastern Kentucky, Stapleton came from a family of coal miners — both his father and grandfather were part of the profession, according to The Herald-Dispatch. And his mother wasn't a musician, either; she was a health department worker, per Paste. But although he didn't come from a family of musicians, Stapleton does still point to his parents' work ethic and encouragement for allowing him to do what he loved. "We were always told that we could be anything we wanted to be as long as we worked hard at it and kept our head down and believed in it," he told Paste.

That work ethic paid off. Stapleton eventually taught himself how to play guitar, after picking up an old one his father had purchased with the goal of learning himself, American Songwriter noted. After a few lessons, Stapleton taught himself the rest of what he needed to know and started picking up bar gigs at night, after his day job. Eventually, he met songwriter Steve Leslie, who showed him that songwriting could be a career, and who invited him down to Nashville to start penning songs. A few weeks later, he moved to Nashville permanently, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Chris Stapleton didn't think he'd play his own music

The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (4)

Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Although Chris Stapleton's iconic voice is well-known throughout the music industry now, there was a chance it never would have graced listeners' ears. While he did perform in local gigs in Kentucky, reported American Songwriter, once he moved to Nashville, his sole focus was on songwriting. In fact, he seemed so enamored with songwriting as a career, he didn't appear to focus on performing for himself at all. "I was so fascinated with the culture of writing songs," he told American Songwriter, "that for the first three or four years, the thought of actually performing didn't even cross my mind. I didn't really play live; I just wrote. I got to go to work every day, sit in a room and make up songs. I was writing two or three songs or a day [sic]. That's all I wanted to do. I thought, 'This is my job, and it's awesome.'"

The senior vice president of Sea Gayle Music, who had hired Stapleton when he first got to Nashville, invited the president of the Nashville branch of Capitol Records, Mike Dungan, to her office to hear Stapleton sing. That meeting made a recording contract a reality. Stapleton performed some of his songs, and Dungan signed him the same night. Sadly, the deal was short-lived, as it didn't afford the artist total creative control.

His award-winning performing career had an unassuming start

The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (5)

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Chris Stapleton was already building an incredible and prolific songwriting career as he moved to Nashville. "The buzz [about Stapleton] went all around town," Liz O'Sullivan, the senior vice president of Sea Gayle Music, told American Songwriter. "People were fighting over his songs. By the end of the first year, he'd gotten more cuts than some writers get in their whole career." But while his songwriting career was taking off, his performing career seemed to never gain momentum. After his deal with Capitol Records fell through, Stapleton returned to writing full-time, hanging out with musician Mike Henderson every Thursday night to create new songs.

Eventually, Henderson reached out to three of his friends, and they and Stapleton headed to the local VFW to perform some of their new stuff. The guys hit it off, and thus, Chris Stapleton's first band, The SteelDrivers, was formed. Stapleton told Pure Music, "I credit Mike solely with the idea for having this band. We had these songs sitting around, and he likes to say that we had 'perfectly good songs going to waste.' He said, 'What would you think about playing a little bluegrass?'"

The group spent a lot of time on the road and received some Grammy nominations and one win (2015's best bluegrass album), thrusting Stapleton — as the lead singer — into the spotlight for the first time. Although he would leave the band in 2010 to attend to his family and his writing, the success of The SteelDrivers opened a door for the artist that he (seemingly) eagerly stepped through.

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The real-life influences in Chris Stapleton's music

When talking about the inspiration for his hit songs, Chris Stapleton often points to the real-life events he's faced that have influenced him. For example, "The Devil Named Music," from his debut album, "Traveller," is inspired by his touring with The SteelDrivers. "Most of the song is all real stuff," he explained toAmerican Songwriter. He described a situation where the band played a gig in Wyoming, drove to Billings, Montana, because it had the nearest airport, and then flew to Salt Lake City to play another gig. "That's what that song is about," he explained. "I missed my kid and I missed my wife, and I was getting an idea of what it was like to be a touring musician."

After his first single with Universal Records didn't land and his father passed away, the singer-songwriter needed a break. After his wife bought him a Jeep (he probably wouldn't have allowed himself the old model, Stapleton toldPaste), they decided tobook a one-way trip to Arizona and drive it back to Nashville.

The 1979 Jeep Cherokee had plenty of problems, but that road trip was instrumental in Chris Stapleton's life. As he was driving through the desert in New Mexico, the artist watched the sun rise and formulated the lyrics to "Traveller." As the Tennessean reported, "With his companions asleep in the car, Stapleton whisper-sang the words into his phone: 'I'm just a traveler on this earth / Sure as my heart's behind the pocket of my shirt / I just keep rolling 'til I'm in the dirt.'"That song eventually anchored his incredible rookie album and, perhaps, gave him a new perspective on his career.

Chris Stapleton knows the importance of his band

The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (7)

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Chris Stapleton credits the existence of his band with the success of his solo albums, per his interview with Paste. While he got his start as the frontman for two official bands, The SteelDrivers and The Jompson Brothers, even his solo work is musician-based. Stapleton's wife, Morgane, is a songwriter and singer as well, and will often perform harmonies alongside her husband.

Aside from that collaboration, Stapleton shared in the interview that his fellow musicians formed the core of his musical identity and really allowed him to thrive. It was "one of those happy accidents," Stapleton explained to Paste, as the base of the band formed when their five-piece became a three-piece once the steel player and the keys player decided to go their separate ways. Chris Stapleton worked with this band to record his debut album, focusing on his "music family" (as Morgane Stapleton called it) instead of hiring session musicians, like a lot of artists do.

According to American Songwriter, Stapleton and his band recorded most of their tracks live, not relying on overdubs like many others would. In fact, the final song for "Traveller" was recorded at the album's listening party, with many members of the party performing live on the track. "It seemed like a good idea at the time," he told Paste, but he also explained that he wanted to give people an "experience" and not make it seem like they were forced to listen to his new album.

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He has a significant net worth

The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (8)

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Being such a successful songwriter and performer — and being married to a successful songwriter, as well — it's no surprise that Chris Stapleton has a significant net worth. In fact, according to Celebrity Net Worth, he has about $12 million to his name. That number makes a lot of sense, as the writer has penned six singles that have gone number one on the charts, and his solo albums have all reached number one themselves, with "Traveller" being certified quadruple-platinum (per Universal Music Group).

Stapleton doesn't seem shy about spending his money, either, using his significant wealth to buy himself a large swath of land in Tennessee. In 2017, reported the Tennessean, he bought 311 acres of land in Williamson County. According to county records, Stapleton paid $5.625 million for the land and a vast estate in Leiper's Fork. That area is home to many other wealthy folks in the music industry, including Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, and Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, so Stapleton is keeping impressive (and well-off) company. Notably, one of his pop-music collaborators, Justin Timberlake, also bought land (126.63 acres, to be exact) in the same area, so the two are neighbors as well as musical co-workers.

Chris and Morgane Stapleton have started a charity

The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (9)

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Chris Stapleton has achieved immense success as a singer and songwriter, and he seems to be using his celebrity for good, too. He and his wife, Morgane Stapleton, started Outlaw State of Kind in 2016, a "charitable fund that supports a variety of causes that are close to their heart," per Chris Stapleton'sofficial website. Outlaw State of Kind has provided grants to a significant number of causes, including various Habitat for Humanity organizations, the special olympics, groups focused on protecting animals, and those dedicated to supporting indigenous women, to name just a handful. The charity also has given special attention to education and music initiatives.

Stapleton himself, on behalf of his organization, also participates in events that will help serve a variety of initiatives. For example, he joined Cameo for one week only, with the sole purpose of donating any proceeds to Outlaw State of Kind. Hecovered Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters," with proceeds from the performance benefitting both the Stapletons' charity and Metallica's foundation, All Within My Hands.

And in 2019, he formed a fund that would directly benefit Kentucky, with a focus on arts and music education, and put on a charity concert with Sheryl Crow, Yola, and Willie Nelson to raise money for it. Charity definitely seems to be a focus for Stapleton, alongside his music.

Chris Stapleton made a cameo on Game of Thrones

One fact about Chris Stapleton that may be surprising to some of his fans is that he made a cameo on the last season of "Game of Thrones."Rolling StonecharacterizedStapleton as a "huge fan" of the HBO epic. The star "had his management reach out" to see if he could be cast in "a bit part" for the show. Having musicians cameo on "Game of Thrones" wasn't unheard of before Stapleton's appearance, as Ed Sheeran, the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Ros, and the metal group Mastodon all had previously made brief appearances on the show.

Stapleton (along with his bass player J.T. Cure and their tour manager) all got to cameo on the Season 8 episode "The Long Night." A quick refresher: "The Long Night" shows Winterfell, the home castle of the Starks, getting attacked by the evil Night King, who can reanimate dead corpses — which is exactly what happens to Stapleton's character. Originally, Stapleton portrayed a Wildling from a group of people who lived a nomadic existence north of the Wall. His character dies, however, and the Night King reanimates his character's body into that of a White Walker, a zombie-like minion of the Night King. "They knew we weren't actors," Stapleton recalled to Rolling Stone. "So the direction was basically, 'We're going to place you, and when we tell you to, open your eyes.' And they trained us on how White Walkers are supposed to stand up and move when they're first waking up."

He knows his beard is iconic

The Untold Truth Of Chris Stapleton (11)

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While Chris Stapleton is known for his unique voice and his amazing songwriting skills, he is also quite recognizable because of one of his iconic features — his beard. According to Rolling Stone, fans have clung to Stapleton's facial hair, sometimes literally. "If they're fond of something, that's great," Stapleton told the outlet. "If they've attached to the beard, that's fine. I've had this beard for a long, long time and you know, it's always fun. It's a good thing to be relatable. I've had a few fans yank on it a little too hard, and things like that. But other than that, I've had fun with it. To see the folks put on fake beards or draw them on ... always an interesting thing."

In fact, Stapleton has embraced his fans' love of his beard so much that he has even crafted contests around its existence. For them to win free tickets to one of his shows, Stapleton asked fans to submit pictures of their own beards (or the beards of people they know). Those who were interested submitted their photos to Stapleton's social media, per Lovin' Lyrics, and used the hashtag "get cleared with your beard." The contest appeared to be successful, spawning numerous Twitter posts with some impressive beards.


What is Chris Stapleton's most famous song? ›

In many ways, 'Tennessee Whiskey' is the song that changed everything for Chris Stapleton. Written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove, it had already been cut by David Allen Coe in the 70s, before George Jones almost took it to the top spot in 1983.

Who is Chris Stapleton influenced by? ›

Stapleton has cited Charles, Otis Redding and Freddie King as some of his music influences, along with Kentucky-based country artists, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam and Patty Loveless: "the list goes on and on.

What key is broken Halos in? ›

The song is composed in the key of A-flat major with a moderate tempo. It primarily follows the chord pattern A♭-D♭-A♭-Fm-A♭-D♭-A♭.

Who are the members of Chris Stapleton's band? ›

Chris Stapleton

How much does Chris Stapleton make? ›

What is the Salary of Chris Stapleton? Chris Stapleton earns an estimated salary of $1 Million + Per Year.

How many number 1 hits does Chris Stapleton have? ›

It reached number one on the US Billboard 200 and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and gold by Music Canada.
Chris Stapleton discography
Promotional singles8
Other charted songs11
#1 singles3
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Are Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake friends? ›

It's one of country music's most unexpected friendships, and one that produced an epic 2015 CMA Awards performance that still gets talked about to this day. But Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake first got to know each other not by talking about their shared musical careers, but rather by talking about their kids.

What song did Chris Stapleton wrote for Miranda Lambert? ›

"Nobody's Fool"

Miranda Lambert found her swagger with "Nobody's Fool," which is all about playing it cool while trying to get over an ex and was included on her fourth studio album, Four the Record.

What song did Chris Stapleton wrote for Kenny Chesney? ›

Kenny Chesney, “Never Wanted Nothing More” (2007)

When did Broken Halos come out? ›

When was broken halos written? ›

In March 2018, Chris Stapleton would score his very first number one with “Broken Halos.” Chris and his frequent collaborator Mike Henderson wrote the song about six years ago, and it was featured as the second single on his album From A Room: Volume 1. “Broken Halos” is about those who passed away before their time.

What album is broken halos on? ›

Released as the second single from Stapleton's From A Room: Volume 1 – the first of two LPs he put out in 2017 – “Broken Halos” was penned by Stapleton with Mike Henderson, with whom he'd performed years earlier as a member of soul-bluegrass outfit the Steeldrivers.

How long does Chris Stapleton concert last? ›

How long are Chris Stapleton concerts? Most concerts last about 2-3 hours but can run shorter or longer depending on the artist, opening acts, encore, etc. Chris Stapleton concerts typically last 1.75 hours.

How many kids do Chris and Morgane Stapleton have? ›

The 42-year-old country superstar is a proud dad to five kids. However, Chris Stapleton and his wife Morgane Stapleton, are pretty private about their family life. They keep their kids out of the public eye, though they occasionally pop up via Morgane's Instagram.

Who is touring with Chris Stapleton 2022? ›

The opening acts for Chris Stapleton tour 2022 will include Morgan Wade, Margo Price, Dwight Yoakam, Elle King, Madeline Edwards, and Yola. Many other artists, including Mike Campbell & the Dirty Knobs, Marty Stuart, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and the Highwomen, will join the tour at different venues.

How much money does Luke Bryan make for a concert? ›

When he tours, Luke earns $1 million per show. He earns $12 million per year as a judge on "American Idol". Early Life and Career Beginnings: Thomas Luther "Luke" Bryan was born in Leesburg, Georgia, on July 17, 1976.

What is Ed Sheeran's net worth? ›

Thanks to hits like “Shape of You,” “Bad Habits,” “Castle on the Hill” and “Perfect,” Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has an estimated net worth of $200 million dollars, according to

How much does Morgan Wallen make a year? ›

Morgan Wallen is a Country Singer and songwriter who has a net worth of $5 Million. Morgan Wallen is a very successful and famous singer-songwriter in America.
Morgan Wallen Net Worth.
NameMorgan Cole Wallen
ProfessionCountry Singer and songwriter
Monthly Income And Salary$40,000 +
Yearly Income And Salary$0.5 Million +
Last Updated2022
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9 Oct 2022

Who sings the best version of Tennessee Whiskey? ›

“Tennessee Whiskey” has Chris Stapleton to thank for its No. 1 at the US Billboard Hot Country Songs. Stapleton and Justin Timberlake's medley of the song at the 2015 Country Music awards drove it to greater popularity.

What is Chris Stapleton's best selling album? ›

CHRIS STAPLETON sold over 5,736,000 albums, including 5,500,000 in the United States and 100,000 in the United Kingdom. The best-selling album by CHRIS STAPLETON is TRAVELLER, which sold over 4,147,000 copies .

Did Chris Stapleton win American Idol? ›

No, Chris Stapleton wasn't on American Idol but he inspired ABC contestants. After his recent interview, fans of the singer-songwriter are convinced he was American Idol – but he was not.

Who is Chris Stapleton's wife? ›

Morgane Stapleton (née Hayes), is an American singer-songwriter and the wife of Chris Stapleton. She performs background, harmony and duet vocals in her husband's band and was instrumental in the creation of his debut album Traveller.

Did Jimmy Fallon really play with Chris Stapleton? ›

So the host himself, Jimmy Fallon, stepped in to do the job and clearly had a ball! Watch Chris Stapleton with wife, Morgane, joined by Fallon and band, play “You Should Probably Leave”…

What song did Chris Stapleton sing with Justin? ›

Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake have reunited onstage! Stapleton welcomed surprise guest Timberlake for a duet of the country music star's Traveller album song “Tennessee Whiskey” during his concert at the Kia Forum near Los Angeles on Friday night (June 10).

What song did Chris Stapleton wrote for Garth Brooks? ›

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood Perform Chris Stapleton-Written “If It Hadn't Been for Love” – One Country.

Who writes most of Chris Stapleton songs? ›

Original songs
TitleWritten by
BlowBruno Mars, Brody Brown, Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapleton, Frank Rogers, Greg McKee, J.T. Cure, Bard McNamee
Broken HalosMike Henderson, Chris Stapleton
ColdChris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, J.T. Cure, Michael Mixon
Crash and BurnChris Stapleton, Jesse Frasure
37 more rows

What song did Chris Stapleton wrote for Adele? ›

Adele covered a song Stapleton co-wrote and performed as part of the band The SteelDrivers called “If It Hadn't Been For Love” for a bonus track on her 21 album. Stapleton told Country Rebel when he heard about the cover, he hadn't known who Adele was at the time, but he went on to say he “loved” her rendition.

What song did Chris Stapleton win a Grammy for? ›

Chris Stapleton's "Cold" wins the GRAMMY for Best Country Song at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

Which song did Chris Stapleton wrote for George Strait? ›

"Love's Gonna Make It Alright" is a song written by Al Anderson and Chris Stapleton and recorded by American country music singer George Strait. It was released in November 2011 as the second single from his album Here for a Good Time.

Who is playing with Chris Stapleton at Wrigley Field? ›

Known for his work alongside Willie Nelson, harmonica player Mickey Raphael joined in as Stapleton strapped on an acoustic guitar for “Second One to Know.” “How about some special stuff just for Wrigley Field?” asked Stapleton rhetorically.

What was Chris Stapleton's first number one hit? ›

Chris Stapleton Scores First Country Radio Number One With 'Broken Halos'

What was Chris Stapleton's breakout song? ›

First up: Chris Stapleton's 2015 breakout, "Traveller." A decade ago, Chris Stapleton took a road trip that forever changed country music. It may be hard to imagine now, but in the summer 2013 his debut solo single stalled at country radio.

What song did Chris Stapleton sing at the Grammys? ›

Chris Stapleton - Cold (Live From The 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards) - YouTube.

Who sings the best version of Tennessee whiskey? ›

“Tennessee Whiskey” has Chris Stapleton to thank for its No. 1 at the US Billboard Hot Country Songs. Stapleton and Justin Timberlake's medley of the song at the 2015 Country Music awards drove it to greater popularity.

Are Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton friends? ›

Chris Stapleton + Justin Timberlake's Friendship Blossomed Over 'Dad Stuff' It's one of country music's most unexpected friendships, and one that produced an epic 2015 CMA Awards performance that still gets talked about to this day.

What is Chris Stapleton's best selling album? ›

CHRIS STAPLETON sold over 5,736,000 albums, including 5,500,000 in the United States and 100,000 in the United Kingdom. The best-selling album by CHRIS STAPLETON is TRAVELLER, which sold over 4,147,000 copies .

What songs did Chris Stapleton win a Grammy? ›

8x GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician Chris Stapleton won three awards at last night's 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards: Best Country Album (Starting Over), Best Country Solo Performance (“You Should Probably Leave”) and Best Country Song (“Cold”).

What song did Chris Stapleton wrote for Kenny Chesney? ›

Kenny Chesney, “Never Wanted Nothing More” (2007)

Who is playing with Chris Stapleton at Wrigley Field? ›

Known for his work alongside Willie Nelson, harmonica player Mickey Raphael joined in as Stapleton strapped on an acoustic guitar for “Second One to Know.” “How about some special stuff just for Wrigley Field?” asked Stapleton rhetorically.

What song did Chris Stapleton wrote for Blake Shelton? ›

(Stapleton also wrote two songs on Shelton's 2008 album Startin' Fires ("100 Miles" and "Never Lovin' You"), and in 2010, Shelton and Miranda Lambert cut Stapleton's “Draggin' the River.”)

Who won Best Country Song at the GRAMMYs 2022? ›

Chris Stapleton Wins Best Country Song For "Cold" | 2022 GRAMMY Awards Show Acceptance Speech. Watch Chris Stapleton's acceptance speech for Best Country Song for "Cold" at the 64th GRAMMY Awards Show. Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, J.T.

Who won country song of the year 2022? ›

for KING & COUNTRY have now been honored with a trio of Song of the Year wins after picking up a third trophy for their moving single, “For God Is With Us,” at the 2022 K-LOVE Fan Awards.

What GRAMMYs did Chris Stapleton Win in 2022? ›

Chris Stapleton won Best Country Album for Starting Over at the 2022 GRAMMYs. This win is the singer/songwriter's first of the 2022 GRAMMYs, and Stapleton was also up for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song. He has won five GRAMMYs previously.

How is Tennessee Whiskey different from bourbon? ›

Both whiskeys require the same corn percentage in the mashbill and must be aged in new charred oak barrels. The primary difference is that Tennessee whiskey must go through a charcoal filtering process, which mellows the whiskey's character. For that reason, bourbon is often bolder and has a more robust flavor.

What key is Tennessee Whiskey in? ›

Tennessee Whiskey is written in the key of Am.

Open Key notation: 1m.

Is Tennessee Whiskey A remake of Etta James? ›

The song's melody is an almost note-for-note rendition of Etta James' song "I'd Rather Go Blind." His producer Dave Cobb heard the song and suggested that he should record the song for his album. His cover was never officially released to radio as a single, but it was released as a promotional CD single.


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