When you listen to Chris Stapleton’s new album, “From A Room: Volume 2,” you’ll hear his wife, Morgane, singing harmony on several tracks. She stands next to him onstage, too, and their chemistry is a big part of what makes Chris’s live shows so electrifying.
Morgane does much more than just sing with her husband, though. In fact, her fingerprints are all over everything he does, including the songs Chris recorded on the new project.
“Make no mistake, they’re always all over everything,” Chris says of his wife’s hands. “She’s my Jiminy Cricket in a lot of ways. She’s the voice of reason, because I’m not always reasonable.”
Speaking to Rare Country and other media at a recent round robin interview in Nashville, Chris credits Morgane with choosing some of the songs from his songwriting catalog that he’s gone back and recorded for the new album, including “Drunkard’s Prayer.” She’s also responsible for urging him to record a Pops Staples R&B song called “Friendship.”
Says Chris, “I’m sure she looked at me and said, ‘Well, you really love this song. Why don’t you record it?'”
When they’re in the recording studio, Morgane is the one making sure Chris’s commanding voice is shining through on every song.
“She’s been known to make me change keys on something,” he says. “She’ll be like, ‘Sing higher.’ I’m like, ‘Alright.’ I get lazy on keys sometimes. I’ll key it lower. That way I can sing it lower live. She won’t let me get lazy on stuff like that. She knows when I’m doing it, and nobody else does.”
That connection between Chris and Morgane is also the reason they can create such tight harmonies when they’re singing together. Chris says they don’t work it out beforehand.
He explains, “She knows all my tricks, so it’s not hard for her to catch on to whatever I’m doing pretty much all the time, both vocally and in life. So, she’s kind of got me down. It’s not really a discussion. It’s just like, ‘I’m singing.’ She’s like, ‘What are you singing? OK, I got you.'”
Chris is always complimentary when talking about his lovely and talented bride, and you the admiration is mutual. Chris and Morgane just appeared on NBC’s “Sunday Today” for a joint interview, and Morgane bragged on Chris writing the devastatingly sad song “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” while he was waiting for her to get ready for a date. It was just a matter of 10 or 15 minutes from the time he started it to the time he played the finished song for Morgane.
She says, “I had to take time to gain my composure after he played it for me. He was like, ‘Well, I think I wrote a song. Tell me what you think.’ And it was ‘Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore,’ which is on ‘Traveller.’ It slayed me. It was incredible. I said, ‘How did you do that?'”
When asked if Chris just pulled that idea out of thin air, Morgan explains that Chris always has some musical idea percolating in his head.
“He never has a blank page. It’s always full of half written … or a line or a melody or a guitar riff or something. The page is never blank,” she says to “Sunday Today” anchor Willie Geist before turning to Chris. “I’m speaking for you, but I think I know you that well.”