Country singer and songwriter Chris Stapleton has thrown down the gauntlet. In a note published on his Facebook page, he responds to recent comments Tom Petty made about contemporary country music by suggesting that Petty “put [his] money where [his] mouth is in a tangible way.” And he’s even offering to help.
This past May, Petty called current country music “bad rock with a fiddle.” Then last week he told Rolling Stone that, to him, contemporary country “reminds me of rock in the middle Eighties where it became incredibly generic and relied on videos.” In the same interview, however, Petty also admitted: “I don’t want to rail on about country because I don’t really know much about it.”
Stapleton, then, thinks it’s high time Petty was schooled.
“Your recent comments lead me to believe you see room for improvement in modern country music,” writes Stapleton. “So, in the interest of making Country music less “sh***y” (your words), I suggest a collaboration.”
Stapleton isn’t just bluffing–he’s actually a person from whom Petty might truly learn a thing or two. A veteran songwriter, Stapleton has penned hits for such superstars as Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, and Darius Rucker, among many others. He’s also worked in bands such as GRAMMY-nominated alt-country favorites the Steeldrivers and Southern rockers the Jompson Brothers.
Stapleton is also now gaining traction for his own new country single, the powerful “What Are You Listening To?,” which is easily among the freshest songs to come out of Nashville in ages. The promotional video below includes comments from Stapleton and his producer, Tony Brown:
Stapleton’s “Open Letter To Tom Petty” is in full below.
Dear Tom Petty,
I think it’s safe to say most modern country artists, including me, would list you as an influence. Your recent comments lead me to believe you see room for improvement in modern country music. I, for one, would like to see you put you money where your mouth is in a tangible way. So, in the interest of making Country music less “shitty” (your words), I suggest a collaboration. I’m extending an open invitation to you to write songs with me, produce recordings on or with me, or otherwise participate in whatever way you see fit in my little corner of music. In the event that you actually read this and are interested, look me up.
We hope that Petty does take Stapleton up on his offer, as it could lead to some fantastic results. We’ll keep you posted.
– Kurt Wolff, Radio.com