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Chris Stapleton Explains Why He Covered Willie Nelson Classic

Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Covering a song by a country legend like Willie Nelson is a bold move, but if there’s anyone up for the task, it’s Chris Stapleton.

His new album, From A Room: Volume 1, features a cover of Nelson’s 1982 chart-topping hit, “Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning.”

“It’s a great song and I just loved it. It’s just always been one of my favorite songs,” Stapleton said at a recent roundtable about why he chose to record it. The breakthrough country superstar finds a way to make the track his own, adding a bit of edge to the melancholy number.

The “Parachute” singer holds “Last Thing I Needed” in high esteem, citing it as a model song for anyone who aspires to be a country songwriter. “I do think it’s a superbly written country song that if anybody wanted an instruction manual on how to write country songs, I’d probably hand them that song,” he praises Nelson’s work.

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This isn’t the first time Stapleton has championed a cover song by an iconic country star. His rendition of George Jones‘ “Tennessee Whiskey” off 2015’s Traveller was brought to national attention when he performed it with Justin Timberlake at the 2015 CMA Awards, catapulting him to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and earning Platinum certification from the RIAA.

While Stapleton can’t guarantee he’ll include a cover song on every album he makes, he does believe that covering songs one is passionate about is an important part of the art form. “There are great songs out there and if I love them and I know them, I’m going to sing them just because that’s what songs are for,” he explains. “I think songs are meant to evolve after you write them, too. I think you just kind of put them out in the world…they’re not yours after that, they belong to music and the people that want to sing them.”

From A Room: Volume 1 is out now. Volume 2 is set for release later in 2017.

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