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Chris Stapleton Brings Soul to 2016 Grammy Awards With B.B. King Tribute

bb king 2016 grammy awards tribute
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Breakout country artist Chris Stapleton brought his trademark gritty, soulful vocals and star-making stage presence to the stage at the 2016 Grammy Awards, taking part in a musical tribute to legendary blues guitarist B.B. King.

He was joined on stage by previous Grammy winners Gary Clark Jr. and Bonnie Raitt in tribute to King, who passed away in May of 2015.

“Here to celebrate his passion, elegance and the thrill that is never really gone,” Raitt said during the performance introduction as Stapleton and Clark Jr. took the stage.

Before the cameras panned to Stapleton, his electric guitar was heard from the stage. He then leaned into the microphone without his signature cowboy hat to begin “The Thrill Is Gone,” a song that celebrates his vocal ability while honoring the late King, as photos of B.B. King were displayed in back of him.

Clark Jr. then took over on the second verse and guitar solo for yet another soulful and sultry performance before Raitt appeared on stage and added her swampy slide guitar into the mix for even more grit. The three closed the song alternating between each other with soaring spot-on vocals as a video of King played in the background with what appeared to be him nodding his head in approval.

Stapleton already won two Grammys tonight for Best Country Album for his critically acclaimed debut solo album, Traveller and Country Solo Performance for “Traveller.” He was also nominated for Best Country Song and the all-genre Album of the Year in the 58th annual Grammy Awards.

It was a chance to shine in front of an all-genre audience for Stapleton, who released Traveller to critical acclaim but little commercial success last year, but saw his star rise immeasurably after he pulled off one of the biggest sweeps in CMA Awards history in November, winning Male Vocalist, Best New Artist and Album of the Year.

He topped it off with a star-making duet performance with Justin Timberlake that was the hands-down best moment of the night, and in the ensuing days Traveller shot to No. 1.

The Best of the Grammys? What’s Your No. 1?

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