Justin Timberlake teams up with Chris Stapleton for show-stopping duet at CMA Awards

Justin Timberlake broke the Internet by going a little bit country. The 34-year-old joined forces with rising country star Chris Stapleton during Wednesday’s CMA Awards, and lit up social media with their rousing duet. The two teamed up for a cover of George Jones’ “Tennessee Whiskey” and Timberlake’s own track “Drink You Away” from his most recent album, “The 20/20 Experience.” Prior to their performance, Stapleton admitted to Rolling Stone Country that some country music fans would be unhappy about him sharing the stage with a pop star. "Some people might want to burn me at the stake for it, or burn him at the stake for it," the 37-year-old said. "Who knows? But we're going to have a good time." Not only did the duo have a good time, but so did those watching the show. Country star Miranda Lambert was among those taking to Twitter to praise Timberlake and Stapleton’s duet. Stapleton not only wowed fans with his performance, he also cleaned up at the CMAs: He won three awards, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year for “Traveller.” ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton stole the CMA Awards

Of all the all-star pairings during the CMA Awards this year—or any year—it'd be hard to top this one.Justin Timberlake joined rising country star Chris Stapleton for a pairing for the ages, one that has us wishing JT would return to his Southern roots more often, and has us wanting much more from Stapleton in the future.The two performers - Timberlake hailing from Memphis, Stapleton from Kentucky - started with a flawless take on Stapleton's Tennessee Whiskey, on the heels of Stapleton's win for New Artist of the Year earlier in the night. (It wouldn't be his only win of the night, either.)"Can I put a little Memphis up in here?" Timberlake asked, before the duo moved onto a smoldering version of Timberlake's Drink You Away.Lord have mercy!" Timberlake yelled as he finished the song.What do we have to do to get these two to make a record together? Tell us. Please. We'll do anything. Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this story misstated the state where Chris Stapleton was born. Continue Reading

Chris Stapleton dominates at ACMs

LAS VEGAS — Breakout phenom Chris Stapleton dominated the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday, racking up half a dozen wins on one of the genre's biggest evenings.“When you get this kind of thing going, it's luck," the soft-spoken Stapleton said. "I don't think anyone deserves it. I'm just grateful for the moment."In a stunner, the night's most coveted award — entertainer of the year — went to Jason Aldean, an overdue surprise for the singer who added stadium concerts to his tours years ago — and toured with Luke Bryan as an opening act. When Bryan leapfrogged over his friend to win his first ACM Entertainer of the Year Award in 2012, Aldean thought his chance to win country music’s top honor had passed."I was starting to think this one just wasn't in the cards for me," Aldean said. "I tell you what, I may be rough around the edges a little bit, but I love this business. I love the people in it, and I love the fans that support it. Thank you very, very much. I appreciate it. This is one of the best nights in my professional career."While Aldean won the top award, it was Stapleton who walked away with the most wins, including best male vocalist, album of the year and song of the year, among others.Stapleton’s success at Sunday night’s awards show has become par for the course for the singer, who also won the most awards at the Country Music Association Awards in November and was the top country winner at the Grammy Awards in February. His sudden swell of public adoration was also part of ACM Awards co-hosts' Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley’s opening monologue — as each host and multiple famous members of the audience jokingly stood up to take credit for discovering Stapleton. The bit ended with Carrie Underwood declaring she bought his tour shirt in 1978 — the year Stapleton was born.So dominant was the Continue Reading

Chris Stapleton set to dominate CMAs in 2016

Kentucky native Chris Stapleton has scored five Country Music Association nominations, tying with Eric Church and newcomer Maren Morris for the most nominations at the Nov. 2 awards show.Stapleton's top nom is for Entertainer of the Year, the CMA's biggest honor. He's also up for male vocalist, single, video and musical event of the year, the latter of which he shares with his wife, Morgane.Stapleton, who was born in Lexington, enjoyed a break-out 2015 CMA Awards, winning three categories and stealing the show with a duet with Justin Timberlake that went viral. Reporter Jeffrey Lee Puckett can be reached at [email protected] Continue Reading

May concert guide for Phoenix: Chris Stapleton, Zac Brown Band, the Weeknd, Chainsmokers

Chris Stapleton, Zac Brown Band, the Weeknd and the Chainsmokers are among the higher-profile artists playing metro Phoenix in May 2017, whose other highlights range from Brian Wilson doing "Pet Sounds" to the Damned (not doing "Pet Sounds").They took the emo scene by storm with 2015’s “Joy, Departed” a cathartic postcard from the edge that offered vivid insights into Cameron Boucher's real-life struggles with manic depression without romanticizing sadness. This year’s “You're Not As _____ As You Think” is every bit as powerful, inspired as it was by Boucher reeling from the death of several friends since the release of “Joy, Departed.” The album was praised in Alternative Press, and deservedly so, as “an album that holds nothing back – musically nuanced but raw, explosive but restrained, matched only by the torrent of unapologetic emotion of Boucher’s subject matter.” Also playing: Walter, Etc., the Obsessives, Diners.Details: 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 1. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $16; $14 in advance. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com.A soulful vocalist whose sound is steeped as much in classic soul and R&B as modern jazz, she arrives in continued support of "Freedom & Surrender," an understated gem whose highlights range from heartfelt gospel to her aching cover of "To Love Somebody," a Bee Gees song that clearly didn't need another treatment (but I'm glad she didn't know that).Details: 7 p.m. Monday, May 1. MIM Music Theater, Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. $48.50-$63.50. 480-478-6000, mim.org.Pop-punk veterans New Found Glory are bringing their 20th Anniversary Tour to the Nile Theater in Mesa on May 2. They've been called "the greatest pop-punk band in history" by Bad Religion's own Brett Gurewitz, who scooped them up for Epitaph after they walked out on Geffen. Their first album for the label, "Not without a Fight," debuted Continue Reading

Spring concerts in Phoenix: Chris Stapleton, Panic! at the Disco, the Weeknd, Country Thunder, Keith Urban

Festival season rages on as we head into spring, with the March Madness Music Festival in downtown Phoenix giving way to Country Thunder 2017 followed by Coachella, for those of you willing to travel for music, and FORM Arcosanti.There are also some huge concerts rolling through town from March to June that aren't attached to festivals -- Chris Stapleton, Panic! at the Disco, the Weeknd, Kings of Leon, Eric Church and Chris Brown chief among them.Here's a look at the main events and the best of the bigger club shows. We'll be adding smaller critic's picks as we get deeper into spring.The Zac Brown Band will bring their Welcome Home tour to Glendale a week before hitting the streets with the album for which the tour was named. Since breaking through in 2008, the Grammy-winning Zac Brown Band have topped the Billboard country charts with no fewer than eight songs — quadruple-platinum "Chicken Fried," "Toes," "Highway 20 Ride," "Free," "As She's Walking Away," "Colder Weather," double-platinum "Knee Deep" and "Keep Me In Mind."Details: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4. Gila River Arena, Loop 101 and Glendale  Avenue, Glendale. $44-$522. 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.Formed in 1967 and signed four years later, REO Speedwagon topped the album charts for 15 weeks in 1981 with the nine-times-platinum "Hi Infidelity," which spawned the platinum chart-topper "Keep On Loving You" and the Top 5 "Take It On the Run." Their other hits include "In Your Letter," "Keep the Fire Burnin'," "One Lonely Night," "That Ain't Love," "In My Dreams," "Here With Me" and a second chart-topping smash, "Can't Fight This Feeling." Kevin Cronin, who’s been fronting REO since signing on in time to be featured on “R.E.O. T.W.O.,” their second album, is joined by bassist Bruce Hall, keyboardist Neal Doughty, guitarist Dave Amato and drummer Bryan Hitt.Details: 8 p.m. Friday, May 5. Celebrity Theatre, 440 N. 32nd Continue Reading

Review: Chris Stapleton in Outlaw Country state of mind in Phoenix, where he honored Chris Cornell

Chris Stapleton was in an Outlaw Country state of mind as he treated what looked to be a sold-out crowd at Ak-Chin Pavilion to a Friday night whose highlights ranged from the almost Pete Townshend-esque fury of his solo on a raucous “Second One to Know” to a deeply soulful, gospel-flavored rendition of “You Are My Sunshine,” as sung by his wife, Morgane.The bearded country maverick took the stage to “Up on Cripple Creek” by the Band, which speaks well to the range of the man's inspirations. And after having set the tone with the suitably laid-back groove of “Might as Well Get Stoned” at the helm of a bare-bones quartet, the singer tipped his crumpled cowboy hat to the death of Chris Cornell by inserting a snippet of Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage” into the opening moments of a gritty “Nobody to Blame.”“I can see this is the kind of crowd where somebody’s gonna wind up in jail later,” Stapleton joked by way of introducing a version of “Midnight Train to Memphis” by his former band the SteelDrivers. Its bluesy swagger was, according to my notebook, “sexy as…” well I can’t really tell you how that sentence ended but you get the picture.Stapleton is touring in support of “From a Room: Volume One,” a second album that arrived two weeks before his Phoenix gig and somehow effortlessly lives up to the promise of the double-platinum “Traveller.”MORE AZCENTRAL ON SOCIAL: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | PinterestIt was after “Midnight Train to Memphis” that he first addressed the new release before leading his bandmates in “Them Stems,” the drummer swinging hard and Stapleton tearing it up on guitar, as he would repeatedly throughout the set.From there, he served a healthy mix of new material and old favorites from your weather-beaten copy of 2015 Continue Reading

Chris Stapleton coming to Waterfront Park.

Chris Stapleton, the Lexington, KY native who took country music by storm last year, will perform Sept. 9 on The Great Lawn at Waterfront Park.Stapleton began racking up awards for his album, "Traveller," at the 2015 Country Music Association awards show, where he became the first artist to win for best album, male vocalist and new artist during the same year. He later won two Grammys and six Academy of Country Music awards.Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for $50 at www.ticketmaster.com and by phone, (800) 745-3000. VIP packages will be available at www.chrisstapleton.com. Reporter Jeffrey Lee Puckett can be reached at (502) 582-4160 and [email protected] Continue Reading

Innings Festival brings Chris Stapleton, Queens of the Stone Age, Avett Brothers to Tempe

Chris Stapleton, Queens of the Stone Age and the Avett Brothers are the headliners scheduled to perform at the inaugural Innings Festival the weekend of March 23-25 at Tempe Beach Park. The lineup also includes Counting Crows, Young the Giant, The Head and the Heart, The Decemberists, Dispatch, Cold War Kids, Local Natives, Lord Huron, Sylvan Esso, Luke Combs, Citizen Cope, the Gin Blossoms, Eagles of Death Metal, Craig Finn and many more.The three-day festival is produced by C3 Presents, the team behind Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival, as well as The Music City Food + Wine Festival and The Austin Food + Wine Festival. The announcement arrives just three days after the conclusion of the Lost Lake Festival (the highlights of which you can read about here), presented at Steele Indian School Park by Superfly, the team behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands. It's set to feature 36 performers on three stages, culinary demos with chef Beau MacMillan, curated food vendors, family activities and appearances by professional baseball players.That last part is important because Innings Festival is aimed at a cross section of music lovers and baseball fans including enthusiasts traveling from across the country to watch their favorite teams during Cactus League spring training.“The Innings Festival is the perfect combination of music, baseball and the amazing location of Tempe Town Lake and downtown Tempe,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Thousands of Cactus League fans – locals and visitors alike – will be able to come to experience the gorgeous weather, beautiful setting, great food and awesome music. We are excited to welcome performers of this caliber and their fans to celebrate this first ever Innings Fest and we look forward to making this an annual event."Three-day general admission tickets are $139-$199 plus fees. Single-day tickets are $99 plus fees. General Continue Reading

Best and worst of Summerfest Day 7: Chris Stapleton thrives while T-Pain’s Auto-tune flounders

The fest doesn't rest and neither do we. OK we both took off Monday, but we're still in the game.Our tenacious music team tackled more reviews Wednesday night. Here's what they liked (or didn't like) during Summerfest Day 7.  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater It's sad to say, but during the opening song Wednesday, you could see why Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have contemplated calling it quits. The start of the band’s two-hour set was a bit stiff, but near the end of “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” Petty and lead guitarist Mike Campbell did their own little gnarly guitar dance.  From that point forward, the band held tight to its mojo at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater. The show ended with "American Girl" and Petty's bright white smile peering out from his facial scruff. The joy on his face suggests his talk of ending major touring likely will be just talk. If not, this was a fitting farewell from a Summerfest favorite. — Piet Levy, RELATED: Tom Petty plays the hits, with a few thrilling tweaks, on night one of Summerfest Heartbreakers residency Kyle at the Miller Lite OasisRapper Kyle took command of the packed bleachers at the Miller Lite Oasis Wednesday, offering a light-hearted, engaging and impressive performance. His DJ came out first and played a flurry of hits, including Vic’s “Get Silly,” delighting the mostly teen-aged crowd. He may have played a few too many songs, but when Kyle ran onto the stage rapping his 2015 single “Doubt It,” all was forgiven. Between bouncing around the stage to choreographed danced routines with his DJ, rapping verses a capella and chugging a Miller Lite in one gulp, Kyle's set brought a fun and playful vibe that was refreshing.The crowd sung every word and passed every "test" — his was term for interacting with them — until the end, when he performed Continue Reading