The title track of Chris Stapleton's debut solo album was inspired by some soul-searching in the desert. "My father passed away in October 2013, and [I] had a single die around the same time on radio, so I needed a little head clearing space," he recalled. "My wife had the presence of mind to know me well enough that I needed that. She bought me an old jeep out in Phoenix, Arizona, and we flew out there and decided to drive it home."
"Along the way, just driving through the desert, I was thinking about life and how we're all just passing through it and that's what the song is," Stapleton continued. "So, as I was driving, I was humming lyrics into my phone and wrote the song then and there. Somewhere in New Mexico, probably, that song was born."
Chris Stapleton won Album of the Year for Traveller at the November 4, 2015 CMAs along with Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year. Following his breakthrough night at the ceremony, the Traveller record made a spectacular re-entry at #1 on the Billboard 200. It was the first ever album to re-enter at the peak position, after dropping out of the chart.
The 177,000 album units it earned in the week following the ceremony were more than Traveller had sold in total prior to Stapleton's CMA appearance. From Traveller's release on May 5, 2015, up through to the week ending October 29, 2015, it had sold 96,000.
This won the Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance at the 2016 ceremony. Traveller also won for Best Country Album.