Eric Church



Eric Church is a rebel, both by design and circumstance, an old-fashioned outlaw in a time ruled by sweet country-pop and smiling bros singing about girls, trucks, and beer. Church loved all those things, along with a little smoke, but he was burlier, brawnier, sharper, and smarter than the pack, consciously evoking the ghosts of Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash but also playing with metallic guitars that previously had no place in hardcore country. Church likes to blur lines like that. He sang of "Springsteen" in a bittersweet ballad that sounded a little like the Boss, he slipped backward guitars onto "Creepin'" and some funk into "Cold One," making him a stealth sonic rebel to go along with his overt outlaw stance. He was amply rewarded for his rule-breaking, earning considerable sales, especially after 2011's breakthrough Chief, but also strong reviews from the mainstream rock music press, which was merely another way he carried the torch from Willie, Waylon, and the rest. No matter how much attention he got from rock audiences, his bold, multifaceted albums Mr. Misunderstood, Desperate Man, and Heart & Soul helped Church become a symbol for how adventurous and idiosyncratic mainstream country could be in the 21st century.


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