As a modern era artist, Chris Stapleton won't be eligible for the Country Music Hall of Fame until 2035, and that's just not fair.

Stapleton wasn't just a songwriter before he became a world-class touring artist — he was a songwriter who artists turned to when it mattered.

Related: 30-Plus Songs You Didn't Know Chris Stapleton Wrote

Thomas Rhett and Darius Rucker are two contemporary icons who pivoted on the strength of a Stapleton song. Before that, Brad Paisley used a Stapleton write for his breakthrough album.

Blake Shelton's most important album relied on Stapleton co-writes, and Josh Turner became much more than just the "Long Black Train" singer with the Kentucky native's sexy country bop.

He's unique because he was so influential as a songwriter for so long before his recording career took off. Did that reset the clock for him?

Justin Timberlake Chris Stapleton
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Stapleton signed his very first publishing deal in the early 2000s, and pretty soon after landed a cut on Paisley's Mud on the Tires album. The work was steady after that, with early 2010s hits by Rhett and Turner and important Red River Blue album cuts by Shelton among the highlights of his catalog.

In this episode of the Secret History of Country Music podcast, Billy Dukes and Adison Haager explore what separates Stapleton as Hall of Fame-worthy and look for comparisons.

Spoiler alert: There aren't many.

Season 2 of the Secret History of Country Music is available as a YouTube video podcast or audio-only podcast. Both are above, but you can also find the pod on AppleSpotify or wherever you podcast. Following the seven-minute recap, ToC's Billy Dukes and Adison Haager will explore the topic further.

Email with any questions, concerns or suggestions for Season 2.

25 Chris Stapleton Songs Sure to Bring You to Your Knees

Chris Stapleton has only released four albums, but paring down a list of his 25 best songs is very difficult. These hits and album cuts are sure to make you feel some kind of way.

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