This week started the Kentucky Legislative General Assembly and one of the resolutions introduced includes recognizing country music singer, Chris Stapleton. Representative Hubert Collins of House District 97 (Johnson, Mogan, and Wolfe Counties), proposed HJR18 on January 5, 2016 to the House of Representatives to direct the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to honor the accomplishments of Chris Stapleton by including him on the Country Music Highway on United States Route 23 in Johnson County, and erect the appropriate signs. It was then presented to the House Transportation Committee on January 6, 2016. The regular session will conclude on April 12, 2016.
The text of the joint resolution reads as follows:
“A JOINT RESOLUTION directing the Transportation Cabinet to include Chris Stapleton on the Country Music Highway on United States Highway 23 in Johnson County.
WHEREAS, Chris Stapleton was born April 15, 1978, in Lexington, Kentucky, grew up in Staffordsville, Kentucky, and graduated from Johnson Central High School; and
WHEREAS, Chris Stapleton moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2001 to pursue a music career and shortly thereafter signed as a songwriter with the publishing house Sea Gayle Music; and
WHEREAS, from 2008 to 2010, Chris Stapleton was the lead singer and guitarist of the bluegrass band The Steel Drivers, which was nominated for three Grammys in the genre of Bluegrass; and
WHEREAS, in 2010, Chris Stapleton founded a Southern rock band called The Jompson Brothers, which at one point opened for the Zac Brown Band; and
WHEREAS, in 2013, Chris Stapleton signed to Mercury Nashville as a solo artist; and
WHEREAS, Chris Stapleton has written over 1,000 songs and has had five number one hits to his writing credit; and
WHEREAS, Chris Stapleton has co-written songs with artists such as Vince Gill, Peter Frampton, and Sheryl Crow; and
WHEREAS, Chris Stapleton’s debut solo album, “Traveller”, was released on May 5, 2015; and
WHEREAS, Chris Stapleton won the Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and New Artist of the Year at the 2015 Country Music Awards; and
WHEREAS, Chris Stapleton is a top nominee at the 2016 Grammy Awards, having been nominated for Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance, Best Country Song for “Traveller”, and for Album of the Year;
Be it resolved by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
* Section 1. The Transportation Cabinet shall honor the accomplishments of Chris Stapleton by including him on the Country Music Highway on United States Route 23 in Johnson County, and shall, within 30 days of the effective date of this Resolution, erect appropriate signs denoting this designation.”
The Country Music Highway is on US-23 in eastern Kentucky and features signage of the various country music singers, songwriters, and musicians that were raised there. The highway began thanks to Representative Hubert Collins with a bill introduced on March 1, 1994. It would later be recognized as a National Scenic Byway in June 2002. The highway runs 144 miles through Kentucky.
Those featured on the highway currently include Loretta Lynn, The Judds, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tom T. Hall, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Crystal Gayle, Gary Stewart, and more. Music fans can take a trip to Butcher Holler, or see a show at one of the many entertainment venues along the way.
Chris Stapleton’s success has been rewarded in multiple ways within the last few months. Stapleton was honored at the CMA Awards for Best Album, Best Male Vocalist, and Best New Artist. He is up for multiple Grammy Awards. He will be on Saturday Night Live on January 16th as one of their musical guests. He also played for over 150,000 during Nashville’s New Year’s Eve concert.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.