Country star Eric Church says he doesn’t know when concerts might resume, but he wants people to feel safe when they do. (April 24)
When it comes to country music, songs about dogs, trucks and/or beer just don’t cut it anymore for Eric Church.
The Nashville singer addresses a number of social issues in “Stick This in Your Country Song,” a rousing and foot-stomping new tune written by Jeffrey Steele and Davis Naish. If the first single is a preview of what’s to come on Church’s upcoming eighth album – a follow-up to 2018’s “Desperate Man” – it sounds he’s got a lot to get off his chest.
“Stick that in your country song, yeah/ Take that one to No. 1, yeah/ And get the whole world singing along, yeah,” Church croons in the chorus after tackling full prisons and empty factories in Detroit (“Mamas crying, young boys dying /Under that red, white and blue still flying”) as well as Baltimore, “where dreams become drugs and guns/ The only way out is to shoot or run.”
Church bluntly calls out Nashville – and the country genre in general – when he demands a song about a soldier coming back from war who “lost a friend, his sight, his hands,” and another about the underpaid, overworked teacher working at “a red-brick school where kids are climbing off the walls and it’s scary walking down the hall.”
Earlier this year, before the pandemic, Church recorded 28 songs in 28 days, renting an Appalachian diner in his home state of North Carolina and transforming it into a makeshift studio.
“For three or four days, I wasn’t sleeping, because I was in the studio all night and getting up in the morning,” Church said in February. “I couldn’t turn it off. … It really opened up some great stuff, creatively.”
Church debuted one song, “Jenny,” during an acoustic gig in February and another, “Never Break Heart,” during the Academy of Country Music’s “Our Country” network special in April – the same month the singer teased “Through My Ray Bans” with an online video giving hope to fans in COVID-19 lockdown.
“Where there once were roars, now there are just echoes,” Church said. “The handshakes and the hugs of yours are now too dangerous. But I don’t believe in fear. I don’t believe in panic. I don’t believe in all its complexity this damn virus has any idea what it’s up against.”
Church will also be on one of many performers, including Lady A, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker and Rascal Flatts, taking part in the CMA Stay-Cay virtual event livestreaming Wednesday (6 EDT/3 PDT) on YouTube and Facebook.
Contributing: Matthew Leimkuehler, The Tennessean
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