Roots music enthusiasts nailed Chris Stapleton as a talent to watch when he walked into the spotlight in 2008 as lead singer and chief songwriter for the Nashville-based progressive bluegrass band the SteelDrivers. His strong, Ray Charles-influenced vocals put a definitely diverse coating on the group’s songs of characters who endure hard times than the “high lonesome sound” that has long branded traditional bluegrass. In his song “When Stars Came Out”, he both talked about a place and incorporated a touch of spirituality in it, through the course of his journey.
The Night That Inspired The Song
Everybody’s, somebody, someday
Everybody’s got a part to play.
The night before they wrote “When Stars Come Out,” he was looking up at the sky from his hotel room, observing how the city lights cover the stars. He decided to take a walk down the road to find something to eat. As he roamed, he noticed everyone looked like ‘somebody.’ They all looked famous to him. That was where he started to play with the idea that maybe all of the L.A. stars are walking around. Moreover, he believed that perhaps some nights, they shine brighter than the city lights. The next morning, he unwearyingly explained to Dan Wilson that it was a metaphor. It was not literally about the sky, it was about Los Angles pop stars and movie stars, coming out to shine.
We couldn’t wait to leave that life behind,
Trying to find salvation in that city limit sign.
Also, this is where Stapleton’s spirituality in music comes to play. He connotes here that not all people who experience fame love all life has to offer. At times, they still want to be saved from all the wearies they face no matter what state they are in.
Chris Stapleton has been known mainly for his songwriting, having co-written Luke Bryan’s hit “Drink a Beer,” an ode to a departed friend; George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” Adele’s “If It Hadn’t Been for Love,” and many others. When he wrote “When Stars Come Out”, he is about to enter the limelight on his own his debut solo album Traveller. He tips his hat here to 1970s California country-rock. “When the Stars Come Out” Is a reflective tale of fame and fortune seeking in the City of Angels. He penned this together with Dan Wilson.
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