The music video for Chris Stapleton's "Fire Away" should come with a warning that reads: "This music video will leave you emotionally devastated and hollow for the rest of your work day. Turn back now all who want to be happy for the next 24 hours." It's that good.
We ran an article a couple weeks back talking about how Chris Stapleton was one of the artists that was helping to lead the charge of the alt-country revolution that we currently live in
; the article is still true. And if we can't convince you to listen to all of Traveller
, you need to at least take the time to sit through this haunting video from director Tim Mattia that also stars Ben Foster and Margarita Levieva.
"Sad guy drinking at a bar" is probably the most tired country music video trope in existence. But one of the things that makes Chris Stapleton special is how his music both embraces, subverts, and enhances the tropes of the blues, southern rock, outlaw country, and even the more traditional sense of country as a genre. Chris Stapleton is country music with the authenticity that's been missing from the genre for the better part of two decades now.
And the video for "Fire Way" transcends your expectations from when the video begins. "Fire Away" spends a not insignificant amount of time convincing the viewer that this is just another "guy mourns the end of a relationship at the bar" video and then it takes a hard left turn into much, much darker territory. The video battles the crippling, existential agony of mental illness and the toll that it takes not only on the person who has struggles with depression but also the people in their lives.
I want to personally give a shout out to Ben Foster for his devastating turn as the male lead in the video. If you've never seen his work in Oren Moverman's The Messenger
, you should stop whatever you're doing and watch that movie right now almost solely for the performances of Ben Foster & Woody Harrelson. But Ben Foster had me transfixed with this video even when I thought it wasn't going to the very dark place that it went, and it's a testament to Foster's chameleonic abilities as an actor and how totally he loses himself in his work that I didn't even realize it was Ben Foster til the end...and even then, I wasn't 100% sure that it was him. I had to look it up.
Congrats, Chris Stapleton. You've released one of this year's essential videos.