Eric Church – A Country Music Review

A couple of years ago I bought all five of Eric Church’s albums (see playlists at end).  I had seen him perform a couple of time on one or the other of the Country Music Awards shows and I thought he was head and shoulders above the stuff that was getting played on the radio stations.  When all that Bro Country stuff started up ten years ago it sounded so awful and contrived and just plain stupid that I was glad whenever I found someone who could write meaningful lyrics and talk about something resembling real life.

Church portrays himself as a working-class kid who grew up in a small town filled with work that got his hands dirty and Friday nights filled with booze and girls.  And that’s what he writes about.  But he also sings about some less simplistic goings on.  His first album “Sinners Like Me” has a song called “Lightning” that is the execution day recollection of a man who killed a liquor store clerk while attempting to rob the store.  We get his thoughts seeing the mother of the boy he killed and his own daughter sitting in the viewing area.  It’s a powerful and skillfully done song.  And that album is full of good songs.

In his later albums he starts singing about his life as a grown man and we hear about his wife and kids and what it means to be a wild kid who has to become a grown up.  And to other grown ups this might resonate a lot more than another song about Jack Daniels kicking Eric’s butt on Sunday morning.

On the five albums I’ve got he has about sixty songs and I’d say I only truly dislike three songs.  And one of those is his tribute to pot which I guess is one of his vices.

There are twenty songs that I like a whole lot.  And the rest are regular good, meaning I can listen to them in the rotation without getting tired of them.  I think that’s actually very good.  Church has an interesting voice and I’d describe his music as country rock.

If you want a song writer that can write both the Saturday Night honky-tonk songs and also more thoughtful and realistic stories then Eric Church is worth a listen to see if he clicks with you.  I can say I highly recommend him based on my standards. I’ve bolded the songs I especially like.

Sinners Like Me (2006)

  1. “Before She Does”
  2. “Sinners Like Me”
  3. “How ‘Bout You”
  4. “These Boots”
  5. “What I Almost Was”
  6. “The Hard Way”
  7. “Guys Like Me”
  8. “Lightning”
  9. “Can’t Take It with You”
  10. “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” (featuring Merle Haggard)
  11. “Two Pink Lines”
  12. “Livin’ Part of Life”

Carolina (2009)

  1. “Ain’t Killed Me Yet”
  2. “Lotta Boot Left to Fill”
  3. “Young and Wild”
  4. “Where She Told Me to Go”
  5. “Longer Gone”
  6. “Love Your Love the Most”
  7. “Smoke a Little Smoke”
  8. “Without You Here”
  9. “You Make It Look So Easy”
  10. “Carolina”
  11. “Hell on the Heart”
  12. “Those I’ve Loved”

Chief (2011)

  1. “Creepin'”
  2. “Drink in My Hand”
  3. “Keep On”
  4. “Like Jesus Does”
  5. “Hungover & Hard Up”
  6. “Homeboy”
  7. “Country Music Jesus”
  8. “Jack Daniels”
  9. “Springsteen”
  10. “I’m Gettin’ Stoned”
  11. “Over When It’s Over”
  12. “Lovin’ Me Anyway”

The Outsiders (2014)

  1. “The Outsiders”
  2. “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young”
  3. “Cold One”
  4. “Roller Coaster Ride”
  5. “Talladega”
  6. “Broke Record”
  7. “Like a Wrecking Ball”
  8. “That’s Damn Rock & Roll”
  9. “Dark Side”
  10. “Devil, Devil (Prelude: Princess of Darkness)”
  11. “Give Me Back My Hometown”
  12. “The Joint”

Mr. Misunderstood

  1. “Mr. Misunderstood”
  2. “Mistress Named Music”
  3. “Chattanooga Lucy”
  4. “Mixed Drinks about Feelings”
  5. “Knives of New Orleans”
  6. “Round Here Buzz”
  7. “Kill a Word”
  8. “Holdin’ My Own”
  9. “Record Year”
  10. “Three Year Old”