Concert News

Hank Williams, Jr. and Chris Stapleton Co-Headline at Blossom Music Center


When I first heard that country and southern rock legend, Hank Williams Jr., and the “It” boy of country music since last November, Chris Stapleton, were teaming up for a co-headling tour, I wondered how it might go. Both of these two are renegades of music in their own way, but it seemed like their fans might be a little more in wonder about the collaboration. Heck, Williams even admitted he didn’t know who Stapleton was until the offer for the tour came up. But, somehow they have made it work so far with a tour that kicked off on August 5 in Tampa, Florida and will visit 8 cities across the country, including a stop at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls on Friday, August 19.

Williams, who is 67 years old, made his first record in 1964 and released his current album, It’s About Time in January of this year. In addition to “Are You Ready for the Country,” the new release also includes new tunes such as “Dress Like an Icon,” “Just Call Me Hank,” “It’s About Time,” and “The Party’s On” as well as re-recorded versions of classics “Mental Revenge” and “Born to Boogie” with Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore and Brad Paisley on guitar. Williams, better known as Bocephus to many of his fans, has sold over 70 million albums during his career, six of the albums are Platinum, 20 are Gold and 13 made it to the #1 spot on the album chart and ten of his singles made it to #1. Williams was also named the Entertainer of the Year by the ACM and CMA, starting in 1987 and then won five straight after that. The Grammy award winner and member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame had nine albums on the charts in 1982 at the same time, something that no other artist in any genre has ever achieved. His live shows have been something to see, and even though he could have been late to his own funeral in the ’80’s, he still managed to entertain no matter what time of the day or night.

Chris Stapleton, who is 38 years old, came to the forefront of country music in 2015, first with his debut album, Traveller in May, and then with a stellar performance along with Justin Timberlake at the CMA’s in November, where he won New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year. After the CMA’s, Traveller became the first album to re-enter the Billboard 200 all-genre album chart at No. 1, where it stayed for two straight weeks after that night. He followed at the ACM in 2016 awards picking up six trophies and at the Grammy Awards he left with three more.  He quickly went from unknown status to the most sought after performer of the year and was tapped to play to a diverse mix of fans at Coachella and Lollapalooza.  Stapleton, who sometimes seems to still be in awe of his own success, had written over 150 songs that appeared on other artists albums, with six #1’s, before his debut album was ever released, including the five-week number-one “Never Wanted Nothing More” by Kenny Chesney, “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” by George Strait, and “Come Back Song” recorded by Darius Rucker.

The previous co-headline dates have seen Stapleton come out first and perform with his band and his wife, Morgane.  He has covered his hit “Nobody to Blame,” along with the country rock of “Outlaw State of Mind” to the sweet ballad of “More of You.” Morgane also got a song of her own, one that the couple also recorded for NPR Tiny Desk and has been highly viewed on YouTube, “You Are My Sunshine.”

Stapleton, may seem uncomfortable or shy at times on stage, but knows how to ignite the crowd with his songs “Fire Away,” “The Devil In Music” and his first single, a cover of  “Tennessee Whiskey.”

Williams’ show is harder to describe and has been at recent performances covering everything in his vast library of songs over the past 50 years. “Are You Ready for the Country,” “If Heaven Ain’t A Lot Like Dixie,” “Just Call Me Hank” and “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight.” And keeps his daddy’s legacy alive while covering “Move It On Over,”  “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “There’s a Tear In My Beer” and “Lovesick Blues,” all of which have been included in his sets on this recent tour.

Williams can usually be found with guitar in hand or behind the piano for most of his show.  His vast knowledge of country music and lengthy catalog of songs opens the door for more rapport with the crowd and many medleys of tunes from the past. He has even been known to throw in covers from everyone from Johnny Cash, Lynard Skynard and Run DMC.

A duet would only make the show complete and hopefully Williams brings Stapleton and his wife, Morgane back to the stage for a rendition of “Family Tradition” as he has done on earlier stops of the tour.

The co-headlining is proof that all era’s of country music can co-exist with one another despite their differences and still succeed and deliver a stellar show. Something that the politicians of this country have yet to learn!  The two bearded stars hope to prove that “A Country Boy Can Survive” when they bring their show to Blossom Music Center this Friday, August 19.

Hank Williams, Jr. and Chris Stapleton co-headline the performance at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio on Friday, August 19 at 7:15pm with special guest Jack Ingram.  Tickets are available at, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

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