Chris Stapleton Leaves The Steeldrivers

This is something I’ve known for a while now, but I’ve been waiting for the band to make an official announcement. Chris Stapleton (middle above) is leaving The Steeldrivers to focus on his songwriting and his family. The official announcement was made last week (I just saw it today).

The good news is that The Steeldrivers have already recorded their follow up to 2008’s Grammy nominated self titled debut album, and Chris does provide vocals for that album.
Chris’ departure does not mean the band is calling it quits. The Steeldrivers will continue to tour and play with new singer/guitarist Gary Nichols.
I am sad that Chris is leaving the band, but excited for his future prospects. I think The Steeldrivers just got much bigger, much faster than anyone anticipated, and all the time on the road burning from town to town just started to take a toll. I know Chris will be happy spending more time at home with his family and his songs. Hopefully, though, the itch to take those songs on the road will strike again in the future. I’ve also heard a few of the songs that are supposed to be on the next record. I doubt it will disappoint.
I could go on here about Chris, and what he meant to the band’s sound and how hard it will be to replace him… but Steeldrivers co-founder Mike Henderson has already done that better than I ever could. Read his comments at the bottom of this article.
I just want to say that I’m proud of my friend for what he accomplished with this band, and I wish him the best.
Here’s a live track from the band’s early days. The Buy Album link points to their studio release.
The Steeldrivers: Heaven Sent (Buy Album)
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4 Responses to “Chris Stapleton Leaves The Steeldrivers”

  1. This is the first I heard about Stapleton leaving, man, it hit me hard.
    I wish him well but this is truly sad news for all us Steeldriver fans.

  2. My heart is also broken.
    The SteelDrivers with Chris were just unreal. I have heard Gary Nichols with the SteelDrivers(there are videos on Youtube already)and they still sound good, but it's just not the same.
    I got to see the SteelDrivers back in Jan. this year in Franklin Kentucky and got to meet all them after their show.They are a very nice bunch of people.I was planning on driving up to the Station Inn to see them next month, but don't know if I'll do it now.
    I too hope that Chris will get the urge to go back to bluegrass type music in the future. His rock band “The Jompson Brothers” sound awesome and I look forward to a cd release from them, but he will be missed singing with the SteelDrivers.
    Do you know if Mike Henderson and Chris are going to continue to write together?

  3. Wishing all the best to Chris and the SteelDrivers. We are so grateful to have been able to see them on their swings through CA. What a rare treat. The combination of talent and voices will be ever-treasured in our family's music collection. Looking forward to the new release and everyone's new adventures.

  4. Mariane E. Johnson Says:

    I totally agree with all of you. I was really broken hearted to hear about Chris leaving. I listened to Gary on YouTube and while I agree he's a great singer, it's just lacking something that only Chris Stapleton had. I actually feel a little sorry for the guy, Chris's shoes are impossible to fill and while I tried to keep an open mind and ear…it fell short for me. Maybe when we hear Gary sing songs we hadn't already heard Chris singing hundreds of times…it will be better.

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