My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Chris Stapleton – ‘Broken Halos’

Chris Stapleton has finally shared the first official taste of his highly-anticipated sophomore album, From A Room, Volume 1. He may have sung “Second One to Know” on the ACM Awards earlier this month, but “Broken Halos” is the first audio Stapleton and Mercury Records have shared with fans.

I must admit I haven’t been able to drink the Stapleton branded cool-aid. I’m not much of a fan of his style or voice, which do not excite me. My brain keeps wanting to compare him to Jamey Johnson, which for me is no contest. I love Johnson and adore That Lonesome Song. I still can’t get into Traveller no matter how many times I listen to it.

“Broken Halos” doesn’t change my perception. It’s a blues rocker, not a country song, a style that fits him well. I admire how structured the song sounds, there’s no wild abandon impeding on the listening experience. “Broken Halos” is probably as straight a reading as we’re ever going to get from Stapleton.

The song, though, is a good one. I really like the spiritual nature of the lyric, which offers a poignant message of redemption:

Angels come down from the heavens

Just to help us on our way

Come to teach us, then they leave us

And they find some other soul to save


Seen my share of broken halos

Folded wings that used to flysang

They’ve all gone wherever they go

Broken halos that used to shine

Broken halos that used to shine


Don’t go looking for the reasons

Don’t go asking Jesus why

We’re not meant to know the answers

They belong to the by and by

They belong to the by and by

My personal feelings don’t distract from how well he executes this record. The lyric could be flushed out a bit more, but the arrangement is tasteful and he uses his god-like voice to the fullness of its powers. “Broken Halos” is signature Chris Stapleton and a fine beginning to what promises to be one of the strongest artistic achievements for mainstream country this year.

Grade: B+

7 responses to “Single Review: Chris Stapleton – ‘Broken Halos’

  1. Ken April 20, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Sounds like the type of song – and style of vocal – found on a 1980’s era Bruce Springsteen or John Mellencamp album. Not as horrible as most of what is called country music today but it’s not a song that I’d care to hear again. I give Chris credit for forging his own path but it’s not a sound that appeals to me.

  2. Razor X April 20, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I like this song a lot.

  3. Luckyoldsun April 20, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    This is the kind of song and arrangement that at one time would have sounded perfect for Travis Tritt. (And Travis sounded more country than Stapleton does.) It’s one of those mysteries why Travis seems to have been banished from the business (at least the commercial side) from age 40 or so.

    • Ken April 24, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Travis Tritt was never “banished from the business.” He failed to release songs that country radio wanted to play and most country fans wanted to hear. No conspiracy. No dark secret. Every artist eventually ages out of mainstream popularity – some sooner, some later – but inevitably. It’s the cycle of the music business. Your continuing inferences that something mysterious or nefarious has occurred whenever an artist’s career has peaked and their hits stop is not reality based. You’ve been told about this numerous times in the past yet you continue to pursue this false narrative, Give it up. Your contention is NOT TRUE.

      • Luckyoldsun April 27, 2017 at 11:40 pm

        You don’t have to take every word completely literally. The wording “seems to have been banished” would indicate to a careful reader that the writer did not mean literally banished.
        Every artist eventually gets bounced from radio and the major labels. What’s curious with Tritt is that he doesn’t release music ANYWHERE. We know he had a bad experience with one indie label, but that’s done. Perhaps it’s by his own choice, but it’s still bizarre. Marty Stuart puts out an album every year. Willie Nelson and Gene Watson put out albums every year, and they’re in their 70s or beyond. And dozens of artists who NEVER made it to the majors put out a disc every year, or close to it. Heck, Bill Anderson has put out at least half a dozen albums in the 2000s. But Travis Tritt and Clint Black, who were both among the top 5 artists in country music in the early 90s and were highly respected for their talents, became the equivalent of non-persons in the music business by their mid- or late 40s, in the early 2000s. (Clint, at least, actually issued a new album almost two years ago–his first in a decade!)

        • Ken April 28, 2017 at 8:25 am

          Perhaps if you chose your words more carefully there would not be so much confusion regarding what you are intending to say. Even the most “careful reader” cannot possibly read your mind. Internet posts are anonymous so it’s impossible to discern meaning other than from your exact wording. Consider re-reading your posts for clarity prior to clicking the “post comment” button to be sure that they actually reflect what you are attempting to convey. The writers on this site expect and intend their comments to be taken completely literally. If your words are not to be taken completely literally then I cannot imagine why you even bother posting them. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

          An artist that is no longer releasing music does it by their own choice. Being signed to a major record label is no longer prerequisite to releasing new music. In the past it was not possible for singers to make music available to consumers easily without retail distribution channels provided by the record labels. Labels also funded expensive studio sessions. But today home and independent studios and digital recording have decreased production costs. Music downloads via the internet have made retail almost irrelevant as physical product is no longer necessary. You are making an assumption that every artist maintains a burning desire to constantly release new music and that it’s “bizarre” if they do not. However they may have decided to step back from the business either temporarily or permanently for reasons known only to them. Perhaps they are burned out from years of touring. Releasing new music requires tour support to generate sales. Maybe they have family considerations. Or perhaps they are saving their best music in the event that one day the direction of country music changes and they can return to the main stage. In any case you can rest assured that despite your tedious conspiracy theories there are no “music police” denying them from recording.or releasing new music.

  4. Trey April 27, 2017 at 7:47 am

    I like Stapleton, but Jamey Johnson is at the top of my list. Real shame he’s not into making new music.

    That being said, he puts on a hell of a show, even if it’s mostly covers of classic country songs.

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