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Live Music Review – Chris Stapleton and Aubrie Sellers

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The Wharf Amphitheater, Orange Beach, Alabama

 

By the time Chris Stapleton and his band (the drummer and bassist that played on his hit 2015 album Traveller plus wife Morgane) hit the stage at the Wharf Amphitheater last month, nearly every seat in the place was filled. Stapleton—an “overnight sensation” who’s actually paid his dues over the last 15 years as a songwriter and member of the Steeldrivers and the Jompson Brothers—remarked that the last time he played in Orange Beach, it was to about two people.

 

He seemed thrilled to be performing for thousands and often involved the audience in chorus singalongs. Most of the crowd knew every song on Traveller, and it’s been in heavy rotation at our house, too, as Stapleton is one of the few current country artists my girlfriend and I can agree on. Highlights included most of the songs from Traveller—”Parachute,” which Stapleton recently performed on Saturday Night Live, was noticeably absent—and, by request, “Where Rainbows Never Die” from Stapleton’s tenure with the Steeldrivers.

 

I was very happy that Morgane got to sing “You Are My Sunshine” from the fine new various artists album Southern Family. Stapleton’s guitar playing was stellar as well—the man can shred it, and had I checked out the Jompson Brothers album prior to the show, I wouldn’t have been quite so pleasantly surprised. The biggest hoots and hollers came for “Tennessee Whiskey”—ironically, a song that Stapleton didn’t write—and Stapleton offered up a very inventive take on the band member introductions.

 

Aubrie Sellers delivered a solid 45-minute-or-so set consisting of tunes from her great new album New City Blues. The band was tight, though Sellers didn’t really connect with the audience until she sang a lovely cover of the Beach Boys’ “In My Room.” She was kind enough to greet some of us at the merchandise table after her performance. I told her that her appearance on the bill was what sealed the deal for me, but I don’t think she believed it.

 

The venue itself is a nightmare, and if you think you’re going to grab a quick bite at one of the Wharf eateries prior to the next big show, think again.

Chris Manson

 

 

If you’ve been to a great gig recently, send us the details, a photo and short review. Email chris@beachcomberdestin.com.

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