Chris Stapleton is coming to my neck of the woods for a concert this spring. I'm not trying to be contrarian here, but I haven't bought in (especially at 200 bucks a ticket) to all the hype. For my money and my Alexa time, I prefer Jamey Johnson.
They both have interesting back-stories, song-writing backgrounds and paid their dues to become stars. Stapleton is the hotter commodity right now, but outside of "Tennessee Whiskey" there's not a lot there for me. Lots of the same sound, same voice. While his CMA duet with Justin Timberlake was fun to watch, his song "Parachute" belongs in a middle-school play.
Stapleton seems like a really nice guy, a good man, and I'd rather listen to him than any of the Bro Country Justins and Jasons, but for as hot as his star is burning right now it's got to burn a lot longer and with a more diverse catalog of songs than just growly, sad blues.
Johnson, a former Marine, comes off the opposite to me. I'm guessing he's a nice guy, but seems grouchy and distant in the concerts I attended. He shut one down a couple songs early in Deadwood because a couple guys got into fisticuffs at the front of the stage. Come on, man, toughen up, don't be such a wimp. Think Waylon or George would've fled from the stage? I expected more from the "Somewhere between Jennings and Jones" singer.
Yet I find Johnson's voice better with a better range of songs. I had a friend tell me, when Johnson sings about the ups and downs in life you know he's been there.
Whichever you prefer, they're still in the 90-plus percentile of the rest of the performers out there.