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Chris Stapleton Reveals Tragic Inspiration Behind ‘Watch You Burn’

The powerful track was written in the wake of Route 91.

Written by Chris Parton
Chris Stapleton Reveals Tragic Inspiration Behind ‘Watch You Burn’
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - FEBRUARY 10: Chris Stapleton performs at All for the Hall: Under the Influence Benefiting the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum at Bridgestone Arena on February 10, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum)

Chris Stapleton sat down with CBS This Morning to chat about a wide range of topics this week — including his COVID-19 experience and views on the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement — and he ended up revealing an intriguing detail about his next album.

Set for release on November 13 and titled Starting Over, the set will include at least one track with a tragic origin story. Stapleton says the song “Watch You Burn” was written after the 2017 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.

“It’s a powerful number to me that conveys the sentiment, ‘Hey let’s cut the evil s*** out.’ It’s a plea in some ways,” he says of the track, which begins with the opening line “Only a coward would pick up a gun, and shoot up a crowd trying to have fun.”

The unspeakable horror of that night claimed the lives of 58 country fans and injured almost 900 in total, and Stapleton captures the chaos with a what seems like a cacophony of sound. A preview of the track was used in a brief teaser video announcing the album, showing off blazing guitars and pounding drums as a gospel choir shouted to the heavens.

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It’s all part of a project that finds Stapleton, his wife Morgane and producer Dave Cobb trying to catch lightning in a bottle. “Recording to me is, you’re trying to capture magic as much as you can. The magic of a moment.”

Speaking on the Black Lives Matter protests around the country, Stapleton said he thinks everyone “should be doing more.”

“Do I think Black lives matter? Absolutely. I don’t know how you could think they don’t,” he said, going on to note that his view on the American dream has been shaken. “I feel like the country that I thought that we were living in was a myth. … I think we all have a lot of work to do, as individuals and as a society. And if you don’t think that, I think you’re not looking.”