The production from Tony Brown keeps the song firmly in a modern Country music production context while retaining the rootsy essence that showcases Stapleton's natural soul-stirring style -- a style which was first evident as the vocalist of Grammy Award-nominated Bluegrass band The Steeldrivers (for two albums). Long a favorite of the Nashville music industry (and a co-writer of hits like "Love's Gonna Make It Alright" and "Your Man" among many others), Stapleton's sound is intoxicating, intricate and above all else, adult. It showcases an artist that can connect without having to resort to 'whoa-oh-oh's' or 'yeah, yeah, yeahs' to drive a melody along (or get people singing along).
In fact the only 'complaint' I might have for "What Are You Listenin' To" is that the intro and backing instrumental bed isn't much different than Rodney Crowell's brilliant "Please Remember Me," a song Tim McGraw took to #1 in 1999 (and also had a similar theme written in a brilliant, unique way).
It'd be a sad day for Country Music radio if the gatekeepers who play tastemaker don't allow for such an instant, timeless classic-sounding song to be a break-out single for a talented singer/songwriter that the Mainstream needs.