I can’t get this song out of my head. It’s the most haunting on Chris Stapleton’s award-winning, twang-folk “Traveller” LP, and latest song to make me a cry on an airplane. Something in his howl is so perfectly suited to a song with this message, one about the tough, ugly side of loving someone. How you will go there even if you know it’s someone who can hurt you.

 Love songs often fall into one of two camps – the love-you,need-you, sunshine-and-roses one, or the post-love, heartache one. But it’s so much more than that, isn’t it? This song just gets it right, with an unforgettable chorus – that first note won’t leave my mind and  the following melody just spirals from there. The official video is as haunting as they come. But I don’t think it would have the power it does if the song wasn’t such a strong, simple ode to suffering in all its forms.

Stapleton is a master of this genre, he was even before his breakthrough, and he so deserves the warm reception he’s received from mainstream audiences. He embraces difficulty, pain, self-doubt and consequence, but with acceptance and not defeat. Some of the songs get a little too twangy for my tastes, I’ll admit, but this one is too stunning, too stilling to pass by.

“Honey load up your questions
And pick up your sticks and your stones
And pretend I’m a shelter for heartaches that don’t have a home
Choose the words that cut like a razor
And all that I’ll say is


Fire away
Take your best shot
Show me what you got
Honey, I’m not afraid

Rear back and take aim
And fire away

Well, I wish I could say
That I’ve never been here before
But you know and I know
That I’ll always come back for more
Your love might be my damnation
But I’ll cry to my grave

Fire away
Take your best shot
Show me what you got
Honey, I’m not afraid
Rear back and take aim
And fire away.

~Fire Away
Chris Stapleton, Traveler