At the prestigious Country Music Awards Wednesday night, a relative unknown stole the spotlight from the awards perennials as Chris Stapleton more or less dominated the ceremony, taking home honors for Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year and New Artist of the Year.
His album, “Traveller,” released back in May, is Stapleton’s solo debut. But Stapleton is well-known in Nashville for his songwriting, having penned songs recorded by George Strait, Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan. Up until five years ago, Stapleton — who has never had a major hit of his own on country radio — was fronting the bluegrass band the SteelDrivers.
Speaking of Bryan, he was crowned Entertainer of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Other winners included Miranda Lambert, named Female Vocalist of the Year; Little Big Town, winning Song of the Year and Single of the Year (both for “Girl Crush”); and Florida Georgia Line, named Vocal Duo of the Year.
Here’s a taste of Chris Stapleton, from a recent appearance on “Colbert”: