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Tribute track Country superstar Chris Stapleton’s tears in the studio for his beloved family dog

Singer's heart-wrenching recording after pooch passes on

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Chris became a massive star at the age of 37

Chris became a massive star at the age of 37

Chris became a massive star at the age of 37

If you're a lover of country music and dogs, then the 2020 song of the year for you is one called Maggie's Song.

It's a heart-wrenching, heartfelt personal tale from the pen of American country music superstar Chris Stapleton.

The five-times Grammy winner wrote Maggie's Song last year, following the death of the beloved dog who'd been in his life for 14 years.

Stapleton (42), a bearded, gentle giant tells the Sunday World that he poured out the song in less than 15 minutes, and was in tears as he recorded it live for his new album, Starting Over.

Chris and his wife Morgane, who have five children that include twins and are aged from 11 to one-year-old, adopted Maggie after finding her abandoned in a shopping trolley in the car park of a local pet food store.

Abandoned

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Chris and his wife Morgane, who sings backing vocals

Chris and his wife Morgane, who sings backing vocals

Chris and his wife Morgane, who sings backing vocals

Chatting with me by phone this week from his home in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, Chris admits: "I would never claim to be a full-on dog person, but Maggie was a dog we had for 14 years. She was very much a member of our family. When you get a dog that is your dog, that's when you become a dog person.

"She was abandoned in the parking lot, so we put her in the back of the car that day and took her home, and she was our dog for about 14 years.

"She was a great friend and a great companion for my children. She was as good as it gets. When you have one that becomes a part of your family in that way, it's hard to not grieve.

"I was literally grieving recording it. I was crying. We normally record things completely live and I was crying in bits of it, so I had to go back and catch [redo] a few words.

"The guys in the band knew my dog too, so it was hard on them as well. I looked over at my bass player and he's weeping because I hadn't told him that the dog had passed away. It's rough, but she was a dog that deserved a song, so I'm glad that I was able to do that for her.

"We have a new dog now, not that that replaces the old dog. She's got some big shoes to fill, but she's a good dog, she's figuring it out."

Stapleton, who played C2C at Dublin's 3Arena last year, is an old dog in the country music world. A native of Kentucky, he moved to Nashville in 2001. He lashed out hits for other artists before becoming a solo superstar.

In 2015, at the age of 37, Stapleton became one of America's hottest country stars with the release of his solo album, Traveller.

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Chris and Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards in 2015

Chris and Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards in 2015

Chris and Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards in 2015

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It won Album of the Year at the CMA Awards that year, and Chris stole the show duetting with his pal, Justin Timberlake.

Shortly afterwards, Chris and his wife Morgane, who sings backing vocals in his group, decided to move house when their home on a Nashville street became a Mecca for country music tourists.

Attraction

His song, Nashville TN, on his latest album, was inspired by the experience. "The song was written in that moment. I had tour buses coming by my house twice a day, and I just lived in a house on a street. It wasn't designed to be a tourist attraction. People were also driving long distances to pull into my driveway and knock on my door.

"Those kinds of things can be unnerving, especially if you've lived 37 years of your life without that kind of reality."

His phenomenal success later allowed Stapleton to splash out on a €4.6m private estate in Tennessee, where his neighbour is Justin Timberlake.

How has he copied with his massive fame? "I'm glad I wasn't a kid when it happened because I think that would have been very bad for my life," Chris laughs.

"Hopefully I've navigated it with some form of grace and not too much stumbling or embarrassing myself. That's something I think I definitely would have done if I was 19.

"It's been an enormous gift to me and my family in a lot of ways.

"There's a loss of privacy for sure, but it's not an unbearable loss of privacy. I've never had anybody be malicious towards me, not once. I've never had a bad experience."

  • Chris Stapleton's new album, Starting Over, is out now.


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