Chris Stapleton, ‘White Horse’: Story Behind the Song

Chris Stapleton has a Top 5 single right now, with “White Horse.” The song, from his latest Higher album, was originally written for a movie, before it became a hit for him instead.

“The song, ‘White Horse,’ really came about when I was in Los Angeles, writing with my friend, Dan Wilson,” Stapleton told Audacy. “I showed up at his house, and we were gonna write songs. He’s like, ‘Hey, they’re looking for songs for this new Lone Ranger movie.’ I was like, ‘Cool. What do you know about it? What do they need?’ [He said], ‘Well I don’t really know, but we know that the Lone Ranger has a white horse.

“That was the working title from that point,” he continued. “We started just kind of riffing around and bouncing things off of each other musically until we came up with what felt like something that would fit in a Western movie in kind of a rock and roll way. It never got used for that movie, but it turned out to be a really cool song in my opinion.”

Ahead of its release, the Kentucky native said he knew exactly what he wanted people to be doing when they heard “White Horse” for the first time.

“I hope that they’re driving somewhere, because I really feel like this is a song that kind of makes you drive fast and rock out,” Stapleton said. “Turn your radio up a little too loud. That’s what I hope people feel like doing when they hear this thing.”

The reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year released Higher in November, his first new set of tunes since Starting Over was released in 2020.

“Whenever we’re releasing new music, we don’t have a specific ritual really, but I think there’s a little bit of apprehension, a little bit of excitement mixed together wondering how fans will react, really,” Stapleton told his record label. “I think that’s the main thing going on in our heads when we put something out is we hope whatever we’ve done will be something that people will gravitate to and enjoy.”

The album’s title track was one of the first songs Stapleton wrote, early in his career.

“’Higher’ is a song that’s been around a long, long time,” Stapleton recalled. “I wrote it in 2001 in the first few months of being a professional songwriter here in Nashville, and it was on the first demo session that I ever did here in Nashville. So, for it to come around 22 years later and wind up being the title track of an album is a pretty unique thing to me.”

Stapleton has another song on the charts right now, his “We Don’t Fight Anymore” collaboration with Carly Pearce. He is spending much of the year headlining his All-American Road Show Tour, and will also hit the road this summer with George Strait, to open for the King of Country Music for a run of stadium shows.

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Read ‘Chris Stapleton: 11 Things to Know About the Talented Singer’ here.