country music starearned him five Grammy awards and a place among the greatest country artists of all time. An integral part of Stapleton’s success is his partnership with famed country music producer Dave Cobb and his artistic muse, band singer and wife, Morgana.
The trio sat down with 60 Minutes correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi at historic RCA Studio A in Nashville to reflect on their creative process and collaborative relationship.
Cobb, a guitarist and bassist himself, has worked with musical royalty, producing for Barry Gibb, Sturgill Simpson and Lady Gaga. In 2018, he contributed to the Grammy-winning soundtrack for “A Star Is Born.” Six-time Grammy Award winner Dave Cobb told Alfonsi that producing Chris Stapleton is a unique experience.
“I mean, we’re playing live,” Cobb said. “And that voice you hear on the record is what he’s saying at that time. And that’s what the band was playing at that time. And that’s very unusual for making records.” Stapleton explained the change in production style, adding “It wasn’t before. That’s how we did it.” “No, and it was like that before, you know, probably until the 80s,” Cobb claimed. “But it’s – when you hear these recordings, you hear exactly what happened and is documented in this room.”
The Stapletons and Cobb won two Grammy awards for their collaboration on the albums “Traveler” and “From a Room: Vol. 1”.
Chris Stapleton described the dynamic between the three musicians, saying they felt safe pushing each other against each other in an effort to “try to make the best version of everything we do”. He described Morgane as the “voice of reason” in the recording studio, explaining that men could often get lost in the minutia of a track or be distracted by unique equipment. Stapleton’s rehearsal space in Nashville is full of musical ephemera.
“Chris and I are two…kids running down a path and going somewhere. And Morgana walks in and says, ‘You know, try something different.'” Cobb told 60 Minutes. “She’s always right,” he added.
Cobb claimed that the musical partnership between Chris and Morgane Stapleton is what takes Chris’ sound to the next level. “I mean, a lot of the sound for me is these two singing together. Very few people in the world could follow it. And she sure can.”
Dave Cobb credits Chris Stapleton with his straightforward, honest style. “If you listen to the records, the records are so minimal,” he said. “It’s really about the song, the song that Chris wrote.”
Chris Stapleton stands out among his contemporaries for producing music that blends genres, including southern rock, blues and country. Dave Cobb told 60 Minutes that to his ear Stapleton’s vocals include tracks from Otis Redding, Paul Rodgers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. “He sums up all of great American music in so many ways,” Cobb said.
Cobb believes Chris Stapleton’s raw, emotion-fueled songwriting ability elevates him above the rest. “I mean, it’s just flowing from him,” Cobb said. “It’s like there’s no filter between his thoughts, his voice and the performance on the record, you know. I think that’s what makes it special, that’s what you hear on the record, it’s him and telling him what he wants to say, everything internal comes out of him very easily.”
You can watch Chris Stapleton’s 60 Minute Profile of Sharyn Alfonsi below.
The above video was edited by Peter M. Berman.