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Mr. & Mrs. Stapleton

Chris & Morgane Stapleton - alcohol ink portrait painting - by Monica Moody - monicamoody.com

There’s something you should know about me. I love MUSIC more than art. Yes, it’s true! But music inspires me to make art, more than anything else, so I’m cool with making that confession.

While I appreciate almost ALL types of music, for as long as I can remember, I have been “rock and roll” to the core. Now, one can’t be from Texas and not have been exposed to country music. In fact, it is impossible to go anywhere for a good steak without some “bro country” blaring so loud that you have to yell at the person across the table from you in order to converse.

Ugh. Pet peeve. I digress.

Anyway, I do like classic country – you know, Willie and Waylon and the boys. Merle Haggard. Hank Williams Jr. Johnny Cash. And so on. Basically the outlaw stuff.

A few years ago, I was busy rocking and rolling when a friend of mine introduced me to Chris Stapleton. Chris is from Kentucky and has been making a living for years in Nashville, writing songs for other artists to record and perform. I understand he has been very successful at it, and rightly so. He writes great songs. And to me, a good song is a good song, no matter what genre of music it is.

But upon hearing HIM sing, what I was immediately taken by was that voice. OH, THAT VOICE! To my friends, I’ve been calling him “the Chris Cornell of Country”. It’s really more than that. He could sing the phone book and make it interesting and emotional. He could sing any song – blues, rock, country, you name it – and make it the best thing you’ve ever heard. To top it off, his wife Morgane sings with him, and she is fantastic. Their chemistry and harmonies are top notch. There goes my hopes of ever singing backup for him. 😉

I met Chris Stapleton!Because of schedule conflicts, I missed Chris’s two shows in Dallas this year, so last weekend, my husband and I drove to Tulsa, OK to see him at the legendary Cain’s Ballroom. To say I was excited, after listening to him for a few years but not being able to see him perform live, was an understatement.

I was so excited, in fact, that I painted a portrait of Chris and Morgane, to give to them as a gift. I had no idea how I would get it to them, or if it was even possible. On a whim, I reached out to some folks, and as luck would have it, I was able to get two meet and greet passes. (!!!)

My husband shook Chris’s hand and talked to him as I fumbled to dig my painting out of the bag I’d carried it in. It all happened so fast, but I remember him saying, “wow, thank you, that is beautiful!” (He could have hated it, but ya know – what’s a person gonna say when you hand them an unsolicited painting of themselves? LOL) I had struggled to get the painting to look the way I wanted it to. For a while, Chris’s beard was looking a bit like Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. Lots of beard. Lots of hair. These things are difficult when you paint with media that was not meant for representational painting, much less portraits.

Anyway, it was a fun and rewarding experience. I hope that the Stapletons like their painting. I also hope that the photographer, Becky Fluke, doesn’t mind that I used her photograph as a reference to paint from. I have attempted to contact her but have been unsuccessful so far. I know she works with the Stapletons doing photography and video and is very talented. Becky, if you’re out there and stumble upon this, I hope you’re cool with me posting these images. And of course, if not, please contact me and let me know. The painting was a gift for the Stapletons and will not be reproduced or profited from in any way.

The SHOW was killer! It was literally one of the best performances I have ever witnessed, and I’ve been to a lot of awesome concerts. I’m looking forward to seeing the Stapletons again in about a month. Because when something is that good, you gotta go back and experience it again. :)

Chris’s album, “Traveller” is available for purchase on iTunes.

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