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Here’s Why Jimmy Fallon Was Playing Guitar for Chris Stapleton on ‘Tonight Show’

On Tuesday evening (Oct. 5), Chris Stapleton performed “You Should Probably Leave” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – and when one of Stapleton’s band members couldn’t make the performance, host Jimmy Fallon stepped in to help.

Fallon shared the story with the audience just prior to joining Stapleton for the performance, saying, “I got a text last night from Chris, saying his guitarist Dave Cobb has an earache and so he could not travel. He couldn’t fly on the plane — he’s fine, he just couldn’t fly. [Chris] said, ‘I need a guitarist.’ And I said to Chris, ‘Say no more.’”

Cobb, a longtime Stapleton collaborator, co-produced Stapleton’s most recent album Starting Over, and co-wrote another song off the album, “Cold.”

Pulling a Gibson guitar out from behind his desk as the studio audience cheered, Fallon said, “We actually got on the phone and FaceTimed last night.” As the camera panned to Stapleton on a nearby stage, Fallon said, “You tried to teach me the licks and the chords of the song and I’m going to try my best.”

Fallon then joined Stapleton onstage, playing rhythm guitar for the majority of the song and offering a few bars of guitar solo prior to the final chorus.

Heading into the upcoming Country Music Association Awards, Stapleton and Eric Church are the evening’s most-nominated artists, with five nods each. Stapleton is nominated for entertainer of the year and male vocalist of the year, while his album Starting Over is up for album of the year (Stapleton is also a co-producer on the album alongside Cobb). The album’s title track is also up for single of the year and song of the year (Stapleton is a co-writer on the song, alongside Mike Henderson).

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