When Chris Stapleton released his solo debut album, Traveller, in May, he was ill-prepared for the warm reception it would receive in country music.

After writing hits for other artists, including Luke Bryan's "Drink a Beer" and Darius Rucker's "Come Back Song," Stapleton wasn't sure that there was room for him as an artist. But as soon as the record hit shelves, he realized that there had been a spot for him all along.

"I was pleasantly surprised," he tells The Boot. "You always hope for the best when you put something out and try to make the best music you can make, but you can’t control what happens after that. It was a great, wonderful surprise."

The Kentucky native, who has had his songs cuts by dozens of other artists, including George Strait, Tim McGraw and pop singer Adele, among others, wasn't seeking a record deal, but one lunch meeting quickly changed his mind.

"Brian Wright came to me, in A&R at Universal," Stapleton recalls. "We had lunch. We’ve been friends for a long time, and I thought we were just having lunch. He said, ‘Hey man, I want you to do a country record.'

"They asked me, and I said yes. That was pretty much the short story," he continues. "Actually, I said, ‘Let me go ask my wife.’"

He did, and she quickly gave her consent. But while Stapleton now spends his time on stage in addition to in writing rooms, the 37-year-old says that it really isn't that much different for him.

"I’ve always been in touring bands in some capacity," Stapleton explains. "I was in a bluegrass band. I made two records with a band called the SteelDrivers. They were nominated for two Grammys. I then I was in a rock band called the Junction Brothers; we made kind of ‘70s hard rock music. And so, yeah, I’ve always done things like that, and it’s always been part of what I do."

Stapleton launched his own tour this spring. Dates are available on his website.

Purchase Traveller on iTunes or Amazon.

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