Fear of Commitment and the Healing Meaning Behind Chris Stapleton’s ‘Traveller’ Track “Fire Away”

In 2015, Chris Stapleton arrived with his breakthrough debut Traveller. Within its 14 tracks, produced by Stapleton and Dave Cobb, were charting singles “Nobody to Blame,” “Parachute,” and the title track, along with Stapleton’s No. 1 cover of the 1981 Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove-penned David Allan Coe hit “Tennessee Whiskey.”

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Also in the Traveller mix was the slow-burning “Fire Away.” The song still hit the top 40 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart (at No. 25) and even peaked at No. 6 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.

The Fire Up Meaning

Co-written with Danny Green, Stapleton admitted he didn’t remember much from writing “Fire Away” since it was written “long ago,” but he did recount the non-committal meaning behind the song.

“I do think one of us in the room had had an argument with a woman that morning or the night before,” said Stapleton. “It’s a song about the frustration of commitment to me. Maybe that’s why my wife always wanted me to record this song.”

[RELATED: 4 Non-Country Collaborations Featuring Chris Stapleton]

The song follows a brewing argument between a couple and the hurtful things about to fire out of their mouth.

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

Further into the verses, the narrator feels the heat of the spewed words but is still determined to stick around.

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” also features Stapleton’s wife Morgane Hayes-Stapleton on harmony vocals.

[RELATED: The ‘Lone Ranger,’ and Semi-Mythological Meaning Behind Chris Stapleton’s ‘Higher’ Hit “White Horse”]

The Video

Visually, the music video for “Fire Away,” directed by Tim Mattia, shows a young couple who go from newlywed bliss to a more tragic turn of events together and stars Ben Foster (X-Men) as the husband and Margarita Levieva (The Black List) as his wife who is battling mental illness.

The video was conceptualized by Stapleton to help bring awareness to mental health issues. “[The idea for the video] was just a notion, and then it became real and useful and something that can hopefully make the world a better place,” said Stapleton. “The song is kinda about loving somebody unconditionally through not-so-easy times. The concept of the video kind of came to me as that would be the hardest possible space in which to love somebody.”

Stapleton added “I’ve been a huge fan of Ben’s [Foster] for a long time and so we tried to track him down and he was kind enough to take the phone call. And then it kind of grew from there. It was just a notion, and then it became real and useful and something that can hopefully make the world a better place.”

At the end of the video, the website for the Campaign to Change Direction, a mental health services provider, is displayed. The video also won the 2016 CMT Breakthrough Video of the Year and the CMA for Music Video of the Year.

Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

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