A number of new artists have had quite a year -- Kelsea BalleriniChris JansonCamOld Dominion and A Thousand Horses among them -- but no one has had a year quite like Chris Stapleton's. The Boot's readers agree, as they've named Stapleton New Artist of the Year in the 2016 Golden Boot Awards.

After years of earning a reputation as a top-notch Nashville tunesmith, Stapleton released his debut solo album, Traveller, in May of 2015. The following month, the singer-songwriter admitted to The Boot that he was "pleasantly surprised" by the warm reception his first project received: praise from critics, fellow artists and fans looking for a more traditional country sound.

“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," he said at the time. "It was a great, wonderful surprise.”

That warm reception turned red hot in November of 2015, when Stapleton swept the three categories in which he was nominated at the 2015 CMA Awards -- New Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, for Traveller, and Male Vocalist of the Year -- and brought down the house with a jaw-dropping performance with Justin Timberlake, of Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” and Timberlake’s “Drink You Away.” Following the big evening, Traveller re-entered the all-genre Billboard 200 and hit the top of both that chart and the Top Country Albums chart -- the first debut country disc to hit No. 1 on the former chart in four years.

The following February, Stapleton received two Grammys, and in April, he tied Garth Brooks and Faith Hill for the number of ACMs won in a single evening.

“It’s unbelievable,” Stapleton reflected of his CMA Awards successes back in November. “This is an unbelievable thing, and I’m not going to take it lightly.”

Learn the Story of Chris Stapleton's "Nobody to Blame"