The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum officially unveiled its newest exhibit, chronicling country music giant Chris Stapleton’s life and career. Spanning decades, museum officials promise artifacts that would “surprise” even the biggest Stapleton devotees.
Chris Stapleton: Since 1978, presented by Ram Trucks opened to museum visitors as of Friday (July 1). It will be available through May 14, 2023. Beginning with Stapleton’s Kentucky roots, the exhibit features artifacts from the superstar singer-songwriter’s childhood. A few of the items visitors can see on display include Stapleton’s baseball glove, football helmet, newspaper clippings and even his yearbook (which deems him “one of the two most stylish people in his graduating class,” museum spokesperson Ang Zimmer noted). Recognizable items include some of Stapleton’s instruments, wardrobe pieces, awards, and even a LEGO diorama of Stapleton and his band, seen in the “Second One To Know” music video that premiered in 2019.
Among his personal items are artifacts that document Stapleton’s career. A song book shows songwriting notes Stapleton wrote as early as 2001, when he began his professional songwriting carer in Nashville, Tennessee. Zimmer, who “thumbed through the whole thing” before it made it to its spot in the display, noted that it includes Patty Loveless and Gary Allan cuts (“Higher Than The Wall” and “Drinkin’ Dark Whiskey,” respectively), as well as the early lyrics to “Second One To Know,’ which Stapleton released in 2017.
Museum goers will notice nods to Stapleton’s collaborations over the years, including those with Country Music Hall of Fame member Bobby Bare and Carlos Santana, as well as pop artists Justin Timberlake and P!nk. The museum also notes that more than 170 of Stapleton’s songs have been recorded by some of the country music industry’s biggest artists, including Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Alison Krauss and Union Station, George Strait, Sheryl Crow, Thomas Rhett, Lee Ann Womack and many others. Stapleton’s exhibit also includes items from his wife, Morgane, including a thank you note from Carrie Underwood. Underwood expressed her appreciation for Morgane for her hand in writing “Don’t Forget To Remember Me,” one of the beloved songs on the American Idol alum’s debut album, Some Hearts, in 2005.
Stapleton released his own debut album, Traveller, in 2015, inspired by an 11-day road trip when he and Morgane drove a 1979 Jeep Cherokee that she bought for him from Arizona to Tennessee. Since dropping the breakout album, Stapleton has swept awards as he released fan-favorite hit songs, including “Starting Over,” “Broken Halos,” “Parachute,” “Millionaire,” “Cold,” “Nobody To Blame,” “You Should Probably Leave” and many others.
“Chris Stapleton is a powerful and emotive singer, a prolific and poetic songwriter and a skilled and expressive guitar player,” said Kyle Young, chief executive officer for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “His rise as a successful artist may have seemed instantaneous to many, but he has been a force in country music for more than 20 years – whether writing hit songs for other country artists or contributing to studio recordings. Throughout it all, he has maintained his own unique perspective by staying true to his authentic self and artistic vision, and he continues to open the door to country music for new fans across generations and genres.”
Find out more about Stapleton and the exhibit here.