There he was – with three CMA Awards for “Male Vocalist of the Year,” “New Artist of the Year” and “Album of the Year” in his hands and thousands of new fans downloading his music.

But Chris Stapleton was not letting any of it go to his head.

He was ready and willing to still give credit where credit is always ultimately due.

In the pressroom of the 49th Annual CMA Awards, Stapleton told Rare Country the role his now-deceased father has made in his career.

“My earliest memories of music was of these folks – Waylon (Jennings), Willie (Nelson) and guys like that,” Stapleton began.

“But also Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and a lot of those people. And my Dad, if he could, he wasn’t necessarily a singer, but he loved music and he listened to it quite loud in the car. So those were my earliest memories of music. He passed away, and he flipped a bit of a switch in me. I thought about those earliest memories of music and how those records sounded and gave a tip to the hat to Dad.”

Tricia Despres is the contributing editor for Rare Country, based out of Chicago, Illinois. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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