Chris Stapleton Talks Touring, Playing for the Troops on Fourth of July

Chris Stapleton performs at Fort Bragg
Ben McKeown/AP Images for Budweiser

Chris Stapleton performs at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on July 4, 2016.

Last weekend, Chris Stapleton performed a Fourth of July concert for the troops at Fort Bragg, NC. He headlined a bill that also included Cheap Trick, Natalie Stovall and The Drive.

The event was put together by Budweiser. The beer company also partnered with the country singer in presenting a $1,000,000 donation to Folds Of Honor, an organization dedicated to "providing educational support to spouses and children of America's fallen and wounded soldiers." The money came from a portion of nationwide sales of Budweiser in the week before July 4.

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"As a beer brewed by Americans since 1876, Budweiser recognizes and celebrates those who have fought for the liberties and freedom of this great nation," Budweiser VP Ricardo Marques said in a statement. "We're continually inspired by the work that our partners at Folds of Honor do every day in providing scholarships to the families of fallen heroes, and we're looking forward to toasting to those who deserve it most: America's service members and their families."

Billboard caught with Stapleton for a brief conversation about his appearance at Fort Bragg.

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How did you get involved with Budweiser?

They called me up and asked me if I wanted to do something for their event they were having on the 4th. It seemed like a wonderful thing to get to do, so that was the long and short of it.

Do you have family members in the military?

My brother-in-law is in the army. And both my grandfathers fought in World War II.

Have you done benefit shows for the troops before?

This is the first thing I've gotten to do on the scale that we did yesterday.

How did it go – a statement said the crowd was around 40,000?

I don't know what it was after the rain, but if somebody says so I guess they're right. Everybody was there to celebrate the day and enjoy a nice day of family kinds of things. There was a little concourse they had set up; it was really nice.

Did you get to meet any of the troops?

We got to meet all kinds. What a great bunch of guys and girls – men and women, I should say for the wrong moniker there. It's a unique thing to get to do, and certainly a perfect thing to get to do on the 4th.

You spend so much time on the road now; is it hard to balance touring with writing new songs?

Well I haven't been doing much songwriting, so I guess yes.

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You're ok with that?

It's fine. There will be time for us to do what we need to do.

There's footage on YouTube of you playing a new song at your live gigs now?

We test things out here and there on the road. We'll see how it goes. Just having fun, basically.

Is it still an adjustment to be playing for these sorts of crowds?

To the degree that we have now, yes, absolutely it's an adjustment. But I've always been on the road touring in bands, playing live. That part is no different, it's just on a large scale I guess.

Are you going to have a continuing partnership with Budweiser going forward?

This is all that we were doing at the time. I'm not opposed to anything in the future. That's kind of up to them.


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