Review – Eric Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown”

January 3, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  115 Comments

eric-church-give-me-back-my-hometownSo here it is January 3rd, the day that we were promised that everything would be revealed of why a month ago today, Eric Church’s marketing arm decided to post a psychotic and irresponsible “teaser” video for his upcoming The Outsiders album that depicted a shadowy figure in gloves obsessively watching a video of Taylor Swift explaining on the CMA Awards how it was Eric Church’s arrogant and idiotic torpedoing of a opening spot on a Rascal Flatts tour that eventually led to Taylor getting her big break in country music.

The Eric Church video was so creepy and so ripe to be misunderstood, Saving Country Music posted an expletive-laden tirade and demanded the video be taken down. Eventually it was before a public outrage could be launched, and despite many Church fans proclaiming the video as payback to Taylor Swift for calling out Eric Church on the CMA Awards, (and that it was completely justified, because you know, Eric Church isn’t part of the “in” crowd and is an “outsider”)  a subsequent video explained that Eric Church “adores Taylor,” making Church’s fans have to each their own asses, while Eric Church himself back paddled harder than the Oxford University rowing team in a 4.2 mile heat race on the River Thames.

The video that Eric Church inc. posted in place of their Taylor Swift stalker video urged us all to “stay on course” and that on January 3rd “all will be revealed to you.” And as always with these dumbass teaser videos, nothing was revealed, nothing makes sense, none of the disturbing imagery from the December 3rd video is now somehow justified just because Eric Church released a new song that has nothing to do with any of it. It’s all just a bunch of marketing that distracts from the music and leaves the gawking country music fan wanting and confused, while the fact that the whole run up to Eric’s The Outsiders album is such an obvious ripoff of Shooter Jennings and how he marketed his last album The Other Life goes horrifically under reported.

But there is a new single here that needs to be dealt with called “Give Me Back My Hometown.” The song is very, very trope-like, residing deeply within the well-worn grooves of the often called-upon American music theme of the forgotten hometown and heartland decay. Is it a laundry list song, or as some like to couch it, “bro-country?” No, no it’s not. Is it a country rap? Not even close. Is it an alternative to the trash that permeates the mainstream country music airwaves? Sure it is. But before we proclaim it is something more than just another song, let’s not allow ourselves to reduce our measure of what is good simply because Music Row has deftly extended the boundary of what is positively awful into previously uncharted territory.

At the same time it is not unfair to couch “Give Me Back My Hometown” as a respite from the rest of mainstream male country. And the reason this small town theme works so often is because it resonates in a fairly universal manner, especially amongst country music fans. But the boldness of “Give Me Back My Hometown” is in the musical approach to the song. Once again Eric Church reveals himself on the progressive edge of country sonically compared to his Bon Jovi-esque and country rapping counterparts, delivering a rhythmic, banjo-driven bed that is catchy without feeling cliche, and a melody that reveals Church’s adeptness at carrying feeling in his voice into an impressively-high register.

To the mainstream country ear, “Give Me Back My Hometown” must sound nothing short of foreign and refreshing. But to an ear with a more wide sense of perspective, especially when the heavy bass drum beat and hand claps kick in about 1/3′rd of the way through the song, a strong, pungent Lumineers influence reveals itself quite obviously. A similar observation can be made of Lady Antebellum’s recent single, the banjo and clap-driven “Compass.” Once again we see a symptom of Music Row being 18 months behind the relevancy arch, and just now catching up with what was cool last year, despite feeling cutting-edge within the format.

All those observations aside though, simply based off of the ear test, “Give Me Back My Hometown” is not bad. The song works. And though with his first two singles off The Outsiders Eric seems to be focusing more on music and less on capturing the muse behind the story he wants to convey, give him credit for being willing to trod outside of popular music’s current modes, or at least mainstream country’s.

1 1/4 of 2 guns up.

115 Comments to “Review – Eric Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown””

  • it seems your guns are pointing the wrong way…

    • Let me not fool anyone into thinking I like this song. But to be fair, music must be judged against its peers, and in Eric Church’s case, that means pop country. And compared to most pop country, it is not as bad as the rest of it.

      • I don’t know. All of the pop country songs I like including Eric’s last album are better than this. Maybe it’s not as bad as some of the pop country made since Billboard added pop airplay and said country is going pop.

        • Pop country was already crap before the Billboard rule change (although not quite as bad as today). The summer of 2012 was dominated by proto-bro-country.

  • Good take. Noticed that the below description could be equally applied to “Merry Go Round”, and this is sort of an inverse take on the same subject.

    “delivering a rhythmic, banjo-driven bed that is catchy without feeling cliche, and a melody that reveals Church’s adeptness at carrying feeling in his voice into an impressively-high register.”

  • More of the same – what 20 year old is writing the lyrics? Better yet, where are Roger Miller and Billy Joe Shaver…and Shel Silverstein? LCD, I’ll mention it again…Lowest Common Denominator is where it all works. I’m glad I’m not between 8 and 18 years old again and having to be force-fed this tripe.

    • With all of the online resources in today’s world, nobody has to subject themselves to any type of musical “force-feeding”. The age demographics that you mentioned are especially Internet-savvy and know how to tap into the great wealth of music that is available outside of AM/FM radio.

      • Granted, these internet-savvy kids can find their musical way, like we did in the 60′s, when we were being sold nonsense like the Monkees et al. However, these kids are much more interested in “fitting in” than we ever were, or will be. I’d rather hear a Billy Joe Shaver song, from any era, than the stuff being fed over corporate radio. Dinosaur? Yes I am! And one of these days, I would hope that the younger generation will value the “soul” of songwriting. Because this nonsense works, again, to the uninformed.

        • I would actually argue that the importance of peer pressure in determining musical choice is much less important today than it was in the 60s. As Bob Lefsetz has written, music in the 60s was central to the experience of socialization, as it provided a place for people of similar demographics and ideas to gather. Today, with the rise of social networking, music is no longer important in creating social bonds, and we see the effects of that in the far more atomized independent musical environment today (as Trigger has pointed out with his discussion of microgenres).

          As far as songwriting goes, lyrics have historically been unimportant in popular music. It is important to note that Western music for hundreds of years was dominated by either completely lyric-less pieces (classical music) or songs with incomprehensible lyrics (opera). Throughout the age of rock, most people paid far more attention to the guitar/synth melodies than to the lyrics.

          The real problem over recent years has been two-fold:

          1) the decades-long decline of melody in popular music, as rhythmic music based on electronic beats have replaced instrumental melodies

          2) the recent influx of modern pop music into mainstream country music, leading to a collapse in the musical quality of mainstream country

          3) the bro-country theme trend, leading to a collapse in the lyrical quality of mainstream country

        • LOL, it looks like the “two-fold” very quickly drifted into a “three-fold”!

    • Actually, funny you should mention that… ? I heard somewhere that Eric recorded a Shel Silverstein poem and put music to it for The Outsiders… not sure which one but I’m excited to hear it

  • Eric Church has a unique, high toned singing voice, which I think is particularly cool given how much of a badass he clearly so desperately wants to be. He also seems to care about how his music is received and how he is perceived. I think these are good things.

    To me, the song sounds like a poor, rootsy Maroon 5 featuring Rob Thomas. Ultimately Eric Church brings decent songs with soaring pop/rock choruses to toe (troll?) the line of country music. If you’re willing to put up with his antics (I’m not*) I can see how you might like his stuff.

    *Let’s not forget this is the guy that smoked up out of a red solo cup in the Toby Keith video. Impressive outsider cred right there.

  • By the way, proof you can rip off the Lumineers and still end up with a good song:

  • I admit this isn’t his strongest song, but I agree, it is better than the rest of pop country. Love me some EC!!!! I’ll still buy his album the first day it comes out, the first chance I get. I think it’ll grow on me for sure.

  • Trigger you will never find a bigger eric mark than me. Does anyone else think this sounds like a keith urban pop song! Im so dissipointed in this iv been a fan since day one, what happend to the real songs like lightning, or the hard way, these boots, what I almost ways, those iv loved. He sold out, he really thinks hes diffrent yet he sounds like pop rock instead of pop hip hop, someone bring some tradition back for fuck sakes

  • I don’t like that song at all. The Rob Thomas reference up above was dead on. If I see that song on the street I will fight it.

    • I agree, i don’t like it at all. Terrible song. Just because some think its at least better than some other crappy country, sucks still sucks. I like when trigger writes about good stuff and turns me on to great music, like Jason Isbell. I don’t know why I even listened to this dumb Eric Church song. 1 minute of my life gone forever.

  • Id really like it if people can give me a list of some alternative country artisits that are still country cuz latley I cant find anythingg

    • Jason Eady
      Jamey Johnson
      Sturgill Simpson

      Funny, none of these guys rant and rave of out their outsider-ness.

      …others can help with the list.

    • Here are a few for you to look at Eric Gordin Some of them are Traditional country and some are more Roots music and String bands but the are all awesome.

      Whitey Morgan and the 78′s
      God’s Outlaw
      Hellbound Glory
      Ugly Valley Boys
      Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band
      Joseph Huber
      The Calamity Cubes
      Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy
      T. Junior
      Sturgill Simpson
      Mikey Classic
      Filthy Still
      Possessed by Paul James
      The Dirty River Boys
      Turnpike Troubadours
      The Devil Makes Three

      Those are just some of my favorite Bands, you should be able to find something above that you like.

      • A lot of them are Roadshow-Approved, and in my daily offering – thanks for listening to some great music!

        • “listen” every chance I get BigG. tHANKS for keeping country music “REAL”!

    • Jason Isbell! lol

  • I’m not a music critic, I just know what I like. This? Meh.

    I never got the whole appeal of the Lumineers and bands of that ilk, so this song is forgettable, at worst.

    It’s not horrible, it’s not great. It just kind of exists. As long as exists out of earshot, or at the most, buried very deep in the background somewhere, I’m okay with it.

  • I don’t like this new version of “Springsteen”. Good idea with the idea of the song…but, does nothing for me.

  • I actually like this song. I don’t think it’s the greatest song ever, but I like it.

  • I really think that Eric Church is riding the very end of the “Springsteen” wave the same way that Florida Georgia Line is riding the very end of the “Cruise” wave. Although Erich Church has a lot more substance to care him through a dry spell. But, all signs look bad for his new album. Performing “Outsiders” at the CMA’s wasn’t able to do much more than get a #6 peak position on one single chart and a rapid drop down to #26 on iTunes right now.

    He rode high with “Springsteen” and this really humble “thank you so much” attitude two years ago but he’s rubbed a lot of people the way now. I’m not sure how “thank you for giving me a home” ever turned into “music genres don’t matter”.

    Anyway what happens all the time is someone comes out with this killer song that resonates and then for a while their sub-par crap resonates but they only have so long to come back with something else really strong that resonates before the record labels pull the big money plug. Erich Church may already be past his prime main stream chart wise. At best, FGL only has one more album in them that will get strong financial backing I’ll bet.

    • I understand what you’re saying, but do we really regard Eric Church as a one song artist? He was pretty well established and coming up with a strong grassroots following even before “Springsteen.” I agree I’m not sure what the commercial potential of “The Outsiders” is going to be with these first two singles, but Church has always been one to rely on his strong fan base as opposed to a huge single.

      • Yeah I totally get that but there is a difference between having a strong fan base and a record label putting ‘x’ amount of dollars and support into someone (based on projected single sales). From everything I’ve ever read it takes something like one million dollars to roll out a main stream single after production costs (and aside from that maybe over $100K in main stream professional video production costs). Then if you don’t have that support, you don’t get the performance slots at the big award shows. Aside from that I haven’t seem him promoting himself to the extent other major main stream artists do (TV appearance and interview wise).

        I just think maybe (just maybe) he could be on the edge of falling off the big stage. ?

        • I would say let’s wait until “The Outsiders” is released before we proclaim that.

          One thing I’ll say is Eric Church’s label is behind him as much as any label has ever been behind any artist. What they we’re saying before today was, “Wake up early tomorrow to hear a SURPRISE track from Eric’s NEW album ‘The Outsiders’ on your local radio station.” In other words, they had such confidence that pretty much every mainstream radio outlet was going to play it out-of-the-gate to promote it that way, and it definitely dominated the news cycle of country music today.

  • I really wish he didn’t say “Pizza Hut”

    • I thought the same. Guess someone ordered extra cheese on this pizza. The whole song is average and could be called “Friday Night Lights.” Pop aimed at teens who never heard a Springsteen song.

  • I’ll give this song some credit. It’s not just a bunch of words that rhyme. So many “top” artists and songwriters just toss together anything that rhymes? That is why everything is the same repeated bullshit song.

    “Sitting here, drinking beer. Driving this car, so damn far…from your old memory that’s getting to me, since 1993. Where else would I be” …blah blah blah.

    This song breaks that a bit….

  • I don’t mind this song at all. Regardless of what anyone says about Eric Church’s attitude and wannabe outlaw image, his music and this song prove he’s far ahead of the curve in the mainstream country realm. And only in the mainstream country realm. He’s an example of mainstream success without having to sound like everybody else. He’s not nearly as good as underground acts like Sturgill Simpson, but to me, he’s a breath of fresh air on country radio.

    Let’s look at the bright side––Atleast he’s not rolling his windows down while screaming “hey, girl!” in the back of his big, black, jacked-up truck!

    • I agree. My wife tends to like all of the poppy, mainstream country. More often than not, we end up listening to that when we are in the car together. Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean & Florida Georgia Line all make me want to hit my head on the steering wheel while I’m driving. Eric Chirch doesn’t. It’s not the best music in the world, but it is a breath of fresh air inbetween the nonsense being played on those stations.

      • Lord help me but my wife loves that “Cruise” song. I have to bite my tongue on that one. No sense in spoiling her fun by being a negative nancy. I think (vomit) Luke Bryan has sucked her in to. We were watching the CMA Christmas special and they had that video before he sang where some poor young girl who had cancer got to meet him (and well he was really charming interacting with the little girl). I was suspicious of that one (the setup). I use to think a lot of Troy Aikman because he use to go to visit children in the hospital all the time without any press being involved (my mother use to volunteer and met him a couple of times when he visited without any press being involved at all).

        Ugg… The wife is a massive Garth Brooks fan from back in the day and she (for some reason that I don’t understand) doesn’t like Dwight Yoakum at all.

        When you’re married you have to pick your battles and arguing over music just doesn’t even hit my radar to be honest.

        • The lousy music I get exposed to now is pretty much the biggest surprise of marriage. Nobody warns you about that.

    • Yet, he aint even the slightest bit country though. I don’t even know what to call him. Maybe “Southern Rock”?

      • “Southern Rock”?! aw, HELL NO! I think I would have to label it “Elevator Music”.

  • Ok so conspiracy theory time. I can see only one possible connection to the cryptic Taylor Swift video and this single and that’s mainly in the song title/hook of the song. Again this is a conspiracy theory but Eric Church, as much as he likes to be on the rockier side of country has considered himself authentically Country (mainly in the vein of Outlaw Country Music). “Give me back my hometown” could be a reference to Taylor saying if you are so enamored with the pop world and really don’t care for Country Music then go ahead…don’t ruin it for me (or the rest of us). The girl in the song never liked the town she was in but ruined it for him with all their memories and Taylor Swift might not have been truly enamored with country music but eroded it with this new wave of pop country. I know it sounds ridiculous but like I said its a conspiracy theory. Just saw a connection there and thought I would share it.
    And if true, I am not saying he wrote that song for that purpose but rather his pr group saw a way to give this song some additional publicity…..I know I must be crazy!

    • But Church clarified by saying he “adored” Taylor. And what’s up with the whole, “One Will Rise, One Will Fall?” title of that Taylor Swift video? Is there any sort of connection to that theme whatsoever in this song or any of the materials around the release? I thought we would see another teaser video today too, but nothing. And I’m sure they’ll kick the can down the road yet again and say, “Just wait till ‘X’ date, then it will all make sense.” Well I’m still waiting.

      • One will rise, one will fall….I think that refers to the fact that he has two singles out at the same time, the new one would be climbing the charts while one was dropping.

  • I wouldn’t dare criticize anyone for liking the music they like. It’s all subjective. But if you don’t like today’s “pop country” but you like this, I don’t get it. This sounds like it could have easily come out of Keith Urban or Rascal Flatts’ catalog. Sounds like the same old crap to me.

    • I can’t stand pop-country but I’ve always had an interest in Eric. For me, I think the appeal is in his songwriting and the fact that he writes nearly everything he records. His songwriting is a step up from about 95% of current country radio. There’s a small percentage of mainstream county acts that I like: Kacey Musgraves, Eric Church and Gary Allan. Some others like Zac Brown, Miranda Lambert and Lee Brice have songs in their catalog that I enjoy.

  • Catchy song, always like his writing

  • Does every Church single need a 1-2 minute long “woah-oh-oh” section at the end now? Just end the damn song if you have nothing else to say. Driving me crazy.

  • I wasn’t an Eric Church fan but I did enjoy several tracks from “Chief” and it was in my regular rotation for a time. This is awful though. Of course, compared to the two pop country/rap remixes (Ludacris, Nelly, back-to-back) I was subject to at a bar last night, it’s a great song.

    • I hate country rap, it definitely makes country pop look a lot better in comparison in my opinion.

  • It’s … okay.
    If I were in a car with someone and it came on the radio I wouldn’t force them to turn it off, but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it again.
    I really hope the rest of the album is better than the two singles, ’cause neither of these songs have done much for me and I really did kinda like “Chief” so I had some hopes for this new album.

  • I like his voice and he’s cute. Very cute hiney. How’s that.

    There’s not much to the song….lots of ahhhhh hooooo’s.

    It’s not outlaw or edgey, and it sounds like Taylor Swift wrote some of the music.
    It has that very familiar ring to it.

    • Eric, get off the computer!!!

  • Disappointed. Is that synthesized pop music, overproduction, and vocal effects I hear? Same pop stomp beats as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgjkth6BRRY Eric’s country + classic rock on his last album is good but this country + pop isn’t. One of the biggest reasons I love country music is it’s the one popular/mainstream genre that doesn’t use synthesized music and sticks to real music played by real musicians, at least it was until recently. Universal must really be pushing for pop with Taylor, Luke, then Eric going pop. Cassadee’s album is also pop and they put it on country radio. I’m all for country evolving without going pop. Everyone please drop the synth pop, pop backbeats and overproduction and get back to real music. Look at it this way, you don’t let computers sing for you so why let them play your music? Lame. The lyrics here are also mediocre, just an average “hometown” song without much of a story. “Homeboy” blows this average song away.

  • Hey Trigger – good review as always.

    The “One Will Rise, One Will Fall” moniker is simply referring to the release of this song and the ushering out of The Outsiders on the charts. Surprisingly it’s that simple. Found that on his website today.

    • If that’s what it means, I’d almost rather not know the reason.

  • i’m gonna give it a listen just for s&g. lord help me. can’t say i wasn’t warned.

  • aw, hell no. no. no.

  • Trigger,
    I amusingly read all of your reviews. I think you have some really good insight on stuff, but it seems like sometimes you aren’t as objective with Eric as you could be. I do give you credit for saying, multiple times, let’s wait until the album hits before we make any broad speculation about it not having anything worthy of Chief on it, etc…
    You also do yourself proud by taking a step back from your obvious offense taken with Eric’s statements and review the song by itself. For that, you deserve much credit.

    The “One will rise, One will fall” in my opinion (and bolstered by recent statements made by EC’s camp), is referring to the knowledge that Outsiders would not do well on the charts. It would peak day one, and fall from there. Give me back my Hometown will show up on the charts and rise. They knew the Outsiders wouldn’t be a hit, and it was a statement song to generate interest in the coming album. This song, with its stark contrast to that first single, just showcases the diversity that is going to be on the coming album.

    People saying there’s not anything on it like “Like Jesus Does” haven’t heard the album. “Just wait until the album is released before making statements from ignorance” would be a good piece of advice (and some that you’ve given).

    I enjoy your reviews, though I disagree sometimes about the harsh Eric Church stuff. He’s always been friendly and appreciative of Taylor, and I think it could have been Donald Duck in that video, as long as it was “perceived” as making fun of Eric, it was just motivation for him to remind people “Yep, I was kicked off the Flatts tour for doing what I do, and I’m going to keep doing exactly that”. It wasn’t a statement against Taylor as much as it was a “eat your crow” statement to everyone who doubted him.

    Like him or hate him, Eric continues to make music he feels is progressive and true to who he and his band have been since the beginning. I appreciate the story.
    I’m pumped to hear the album. He’s promised it is going to be a story album, and entire artistic piece. I think it’ll be an awesome album, with tons of diversity on it. Wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear slow and vulnerable songs, hard hitting “rock” influenced songs, and more mainstream country stuff.

    Sorry this was such a long post. Just my opinion.

    • His 3 prior albums all sound drastically different from one another, so I don’t think we should be “expecting” anything in particular. I feel as though some of these new songs are paying respect to how he got to his current position. Give Me Back My Hometown is obviously part tribute to the song that propelled his career to the next level. Though we’ve only heard a snippet of it, “My Dark Side” is an obvious tribute to the sound he had on the Sinners Like Me album.

      So far, the only thing that worries me about his new album is that one of the possible album cuts was titled “Beer Beer Party Party” and I just don’t want to hear that. I’m looking forward to songs like “A Man Who Was Going to Die Young.”

    • I will take everyone’s word that the “One will rise, One will fall” slogan stands for his charting singles, I just think it is sort of a lame slogan to adopt for such a thing. He seems to be trying to make these grandiose statements about society and such with the whole “Outsider” approach, and then all of a sudden “One will rise, One will fall” is only about songs on a chart? The vast majority of people don’t even pay attention to such things as charts, or how a “single” works. They just know the radio is playing a new song. Just seems like such heavy language for such a simple thing. What ever happened to having the music speak for itself?

      • And isn’t that what typically happens with consecutive singles from an mainstream artist?. The first one eventually falls down the charts, and the next one goes up from its initial position? And isn’t that something completely unremarkable? If I was an Eric Church fan following this “mystery”, I’d feel like a chump.

        • Jack, yes, that’s correct, except that in this case it was the intent from the beginning with the Outsiders that it would not do well on the charts.

          So, Trigger, you think it makes more sense to assume that the “One will Rise, One Will Fall” was a threat on the life of Taylor Swift like you went off the rails about a couple of weeks ago, and it is not possible that he was actually talking about pulling a single far sooner than is normal?

          Come on man, you have more common sense than that. You’re just being purposely obtuse.

          • Bobsled,

            No, I don’t think Eric was threatening to kill Taylor, never said that, and made sure to go out of my way to clarify that is not what I meant. That was a position some tried to pin on me so they could say I was being too extreme. I do think the video, along with the slogan could have been taken the wrong way by some.

            As for what “One Will Rise, One Will Fall” really means, I’m not trying to be obtuse. I’ll take your word that it has to do with the singles. I just think that’s kind of a lame thing to make some sort of chest-pounding proclamation about. I was thinking its meaning was going to be in line with the social commentary Eric is pushing with this whole “Outsiders” theme. I was giving Eric Church the benefit of the doubt, if anything. But apparently this has much more to do with marketing than expression.

            Look, I’m a music fan. I’m also a fan of when artists build linear themes into their music. I want to like things more than I want to dislike them.

  • This is easily one of his weakest lyrical tracks to date, but man can this motherfucker sing. You might hate him. You might think he’s a poser dbag, and you might be right, but if there is another major mainstream country artist with Eric’s vocal range and ability to consistently pull off strange vocalizations in his songs, not only recorded but in a live setting, I need you to point him out to me. My god. I love when he uses his high note ability. Reminds me of the title track to Carolina.

    • He’s a good singer but you’re exaggerating. A few men sing as well or better and all but one woman sings better. Let’s hear Eric sing the national anthem. That’s a good song to compare vocals and a good one to avoid if you’re not a top vocalist.

      • being a vocalist I pay very very close attention to pitch and Eric is one of the better singers i’ve heard live. I agree with the national anthem thing its easy to miss when someones pitchy if they’re backed by a band. IMO one of the most consistent singers out of the studio is Blake Shelton very rarely do I hear him miss a note…I saw Blackberry Smoke live last year and while i like their music their lead singer had some pitch issues

        • What good does Blake Shelton’s vocal ability do us when he’s releasing by far the worst material of his career?

          • Never said anything about his music, just stated that he has great pitch control whether he was singing amazing grace or Yankee Doodle Dandy

        • He sings acoustic probably more than most artists. I’ve seen him do acoustic performances three times myself. On the shows that he is opening for George Strait he is doing acoustic, so he doesn’t always have a band backing him.

      • All but one woman? In the mainstream market, you mean? You must be referring to Miranda. Terrible live. Kimberly Perry? Terrible live. Kacey Musgraves is pretty one dimensional, vocally, even if she is a fantastic songwriter. And Taylor Swift? Don’t get me started on that one. Contrary to popular belief, she’s quite a good singer, but not as good as EC

        I can’t think of many female vocalists who display the kind of range and overall use of technique that Eric does. While I don’t like her music, I can’t say that Carrie Underwood isn’t a great vocalist, but who else are you talking about? And the few men….Chris Young, maybe? Don’t make a blanket statement and then refuse to name names, my friend.

        • Miranda is bad live??? Don’t agree. Band Perry is terrible live? Don’t agree with that either. Seen Miranda twice and not ashamed to admit that I like her. I live in Prescott, where we lost the firefighters in June and Band Perry came and did the Country Cares concert with Dierks Bentley and I thought they were not great – but not horrible.

          Carrie is great vocally but started singing poppy crap. Taylor vocally can’t even come close to Carrie, Martina, Reba, etc (the ladies in country who can sing). And I do like Miranda. I like that she can write as well. I think she is better vocally than Taylor ever will be, but I do not think that she is vocally as talented as Carrie, Martina and Reba.

          But…all that said – Eric has a great voice and he can sing. I love his vocals and I have heard acoustic sets that I would die to have a whole album of. The acoustic version of Like Jesus Does is great. And – I would bet he can do the anthem. And I would also agree on Blake. Loved his early stuff (Ol Red). I think he can sing. But he totally lost me at the Boys Round Here.

        • Well since Eric is mainstream and you said mainstream I was mostly thinking mainstream but there are great singers on indie labels too. Ok, all but 2 mainstream women since I haven’t heard range or power from Kacey or Taylor but is Tay even country anymore? Wow, no way are Miranda and Kimberly terrible and like most women they are way above average vocalists. I’m not saying Jason is a bad singer but for example here’s Carrie schooling and blowing him away on a challenging vocal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp4Q8hXgkkk Most of the men radio plays are average singers, while women get overlooked and dropped from or not signed to major labels because radio doesn’t play most of them so most aren’t in the mainstream for long. Many women are great vocalists with great range, technique, power, control, “strange” (unique) vocalizations, and high note ability. Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, Leann Womack, Trisha Yearwood, Shania Twain, Jennifer Nettles, LeAnn Rimes, Sara Evans, Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, Miranda Lambert, Kimberly Perry, Ashton Shepherd, Ashley Monroe, Sunny Sweeney, Rhiannon Giddens, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Julie Roberts, JoDee Messina, Loretta Lynn, Hillary Scott, Lindi Ortega, Valerie June? (I need to hear her more), Patty Loveless, Brandy Clark, Joanna Cotton, and maybe more. I bet at least most of them could outsing Eric on the same vocally challenging song (the anthem) and I’ve heard many of them nail it. Has he ever performed it? I can’t find a video. Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Joe Nichols, Josh Turner, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Lee Brice, and Eric Strickland sing great. Is Eric better than all of them?

          Now back to this song, what good are great vocals when they are buried by overproduction and processing? This is another reason why Eric and all country artists should avoid going this pop. Eric shines when he sticks to country/rock and Carolina is great and way better than this.

          • He’s certainly better than most of them. A lot of those vocalists have nice voices but are one dimensional. Don’t underrate Eric’s singing ability just because you want to say there are a bunch of better singers on mainstream country radio, because you’d be wrong. I’d say he’s probably the top male vocalist you hear on an every day basis, and he’s definitely better than most female vocalists, as well. He’s definitely up there with the best you hear on the mainstream side every day.

  • This song is revolting. And what’s the point with promoting pop ‘country’ here again?

    • Nobody is “promoting” anything here. This is a review, and I had some very harsh things to say both about Eric and this song. As I said when I reviewed his other recent song “The Outsiders,” I’d rather just wait for the entire album to come out and review it all at once than to comment on each new song. But for whatever reason, I have had more requests to review these songs than I have had requests for anything else in the history of this website. So it seems a little silly to just ignore these requests, especially since Eric Church, his music, and his behavior is very much within the relevant overall theme of Saving Country Music.

      • I’d definetely rather hear this over all the country that you hear anymore. All anyone rights about is trucks, girls, and bear. While this isn’t a ballad which we need more of this is a very good song.

  • Revolting? Come on, now. 1994, Cruise, Truck Yeah. Those are revolting. Eric Church’s persona is sometimes revolting to me. But this is a decent enough song. Nothing great, but far from revolting.

  • Gotta say I’m wicked disappointed with this one. I like Eric’s tendency to stick to the southern rock edge of country. This is just meh. Doesn’t quite work for me. However it is nice to see a pop country song where the banjo is well integrated instead of HEY GUYS, WE HAVE A BANJO! AIN’T WE COUNTRY!?!

    • I agree except during most of the song the banjo is barely there and audible and I’m listening with headphones. What would be nice is less pop and more country instrumentation.

  • Its alright. Its catchy and has subtance at least

  • I can live with this. It’s certainly not half-bad.

    I’m surprised no one else has brought this up yet, but to me this sounds like a sequel to “Springsteen”, and Church’s most surefire attempt at mining Bruce Springsteen’s brand of blue-collar pride and bittersweet small-town nostalgia. However, lyrically, Church’s efforts to emulate Springsteen fall well short, even when they still carry a lot more descriptive quality than most of what’s presently being churned out on corporate country radio.

    Even the sound has whiffs of 80′s-era Springsteen, with some U2-esque reverb peeping in in the closing 45 seconds.

    Finally, I’ll acknowledge that Church has always been hit-or-miss with me as a vocalist. When he chest-beats too rigorously, his nasal twang can really get on my nerves, but just as often, his voice carries real distinctive flavor and can be emotionally resonant. He plays the latter here, and I think this is one of Church’s finest vocal performances to date. I especially appreciate how he wends from a “Springsteen” or “Like Jesus Does”-esque understated vocal in the verses, to a melodic falsetto in the latter choruses and coda, to a frustrated, anguished vocal in the bridge. He sounds like he truly believes in what he’s selling here, even if he doesn’t have the lyrical weight to stand up to his idol.

    So this gets my (albeit not enthusiastic) approval. I do predict this is a future #1 contender, and honestly wouldn’t mind if this winds up being the case compared to all the “frat boy country” it’s still competing with.

  • are we talking about a song here, or the end of days????

    • The decline of country music into pop hell.

  • Ya gotta admit it…these Eric Church pieces are always fun. :-D

  • Speaking of Bon Jovi – this song definitely has bits of “(You Want To) Make A Memory” in it.

  • Eric Church doesn’t play the type of country music I want to save.

  • Dude! I absolutely love reading your blogs and rants, but you have an enormous fetish with Eric Church! There are so many worse things happening in country music that you could spend your energy on than Church’s dumb ass teaser videos. It is kind of funny that you spend as much time as you do on him. He’s not my favorite by any means but he isn’t as bad as you attempt to make him. Get back to making fun of Jason Aldean’s chain wallets, Luke Bryan’s vagina, and the Nickelback/Hinder wanna be duo Florida Georgia Line. That stuff is awesome!

    • Brian,

      I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it yet again: When artists are getting ready to release an album, they tend to dominate the news cycle, sometimes making it look like I or other sites are “obsessed” when it is not even close to the case. I’ve heard this same charge about Shooter Jennings, Taylor Swift, Hank3, and on an on around their album releases. And after they release their albums, and I barely talk about them for another 20 months. It is my job to write about relevant, topical issues. I have posted exactly 2 Eric Church articles in the past month. That is roughly 2 Eric Church articles out of 50. So is 2 out of 50 an obsession? If you come to this site and all you see is Eric Church articles, then you’re the one who is obsessed.

      If you want to read a rant, here’s one I posted recently:


      • Yeah, that was a weird comment not based in reality.

        (Although) I’ve been waiting for another Hunter Hayes article myself. That kid (while really talented) is just creepy. And he’s way too dang happy (and happy with himself) to be a country artist. He’s got that Taylor Swift vibe of a rich suburb kid that’s never had any real sorrow or real living under his belt.

        There was some crap interview with him I heard recently where he has some new fetish (I had to work ‘fetish’ in here ‘dude’) with buying antique instruments and he wants to record his whole next album with antique instruments. Sounds like a lip stick on pig scenario to me.

        You know really I wouldn’t mind a whole article making fun of the peach fuzz Hunter Hayes is trying to grow in on his lip.

        OK wait, I’ve got it: “Jason Aldean turned around too fast when he freaked out at seeing a pants-less Luke Bryan’s vagina and the turning action whipped his wallet chain into Hunter Hayes’ peach fuzz hustache where it got stuck. Hunter got upset and bitch slapped the cowboy hat toupe off Jason Aldean’s ugly bald head which flew into Miranda Lamberts’ rebar reinforced cleavage and got stuck”.

      • What say we stop referring to all singers as artist! The word in itself describes a usually very multi-talented person who creats art in song or painting etc.
        Today there are so few Artist in the music industry, especially in COUNTRY that I can’t really recall any new ones in the past few years.
        Can you write your own hits? Can you sound like you feel the lyrics or do you sound like someone wrote you a bunch of over copied lines and you learned how to pronounce them, not very convincingly!
        I just simply don’t see the “ARTIST” in all these lyric reading, talking, mumbling singers who overpay for computer timed, voice correction software with an electronic genious at the controls who can make my dogs barking sound like a song.
        (Not to take away the artistic greatness of my dog’s singing, she really is better than most of the boys and girls coming out of music city these days).
        Let’s call my dog a dog and these singers,,,,,singers…or crap rappers or stage runners…whatever that means! But Artist, not!

  • Seems like taking a long way around the bend to say a song is not bad. Maybe your beef with the guy is that he is pretending to be a cutting edge “outlaw” when he is really just a pretender and “fake rebel” part of the scene (like a WWE heel). I don’t know. I just take it for what it’s worth. Decent music, and better than a lot we get from Nashville, then I shrug and go back to listening to things like Adam Hood’s direct retort to all of this (including “Springsteen”) Nashville poseuring (word?) in “I’ll Sing About Mine”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmfpQ2TgdZE

    • I believe it was determined that the “Springsteen” reference had nothing to do with Eric Church, because “I’ll Sing About Mine” was written before “Springsteen” was. “I’ll Sing About Mine” is a great song though. Was one of my Song of the Year candidates, and the video by Josh Abbott Band was my #1 video for 2013.

    • There have been several song that people have assumed have been directed at Eric Church, among others, but I don’t buy it. For instance, I don’t think “Outlaw You” was directed at Eric Church at all. I think that was more in the direction of the Brantley Gilbert, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan crowd.

      • I’m pretty confident that “Outlaw You” was directed at Eric Church for some specific reasons. Either way, not sure it would be directed at Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan, because despite how awful they might be, they have never claimed to be Outlaws. Brantley Gilbert may have in passing, but Eric Church and Justin Moore are the biggest perpetrators of that crime.

        • Eh, maybe it’s just my preference for EC. Call me crazy, but I’d take him over Shooter in a heartbeat. I thought Outlaw You was so unfortunately ironic that I never really took it seriously, and Shooter’s lack of vocal ability has always been a turnoff, imo.

          I think Outlaw You is primarily aimed at dudes like Justin Moore, who prances around with his gigantic hat and tombstone sized belt buckle. The guy is a walking caricature, a cut and dried case of SGS (Small Guy Syndrome, he’s about 5’7). At least Eric actually believes what he says and has some artistic integrity, haha, and doesn’t spend all of his time trying to compensate.

      • Just watched the Outlaw You video on youtube. Shooter Jennings is riding his dad’s coat tails. He doesn’t have vocal talent. The video is horrible. I get that he doesn’t have the budget for a top of the line production, but why bother filming him walking down the middle of a turn lane. Is he being an outlaw for walking in the street and not on a sidewalk? He just sounds like he has a chip on his shoulder.

  • I, like many people on here, like Eric. He has been true to what he is. He writes his stuff. And it is not pop/rap/country hybrid crap. Not sure I love this song, but I do like this one…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8f4-DKbz7Y This will be on on this album too.

    I will likely buy the album when it comes out, as I have his others. Do I love everything he does…no. But I do generally find several songs on each album that I do like. I do see him as an Outsider. I think that he and a few others never get nominated and that ticks me off – especially when Bryan, Aldean, and FGL not only get nominated but also win. I would much rather see awards going to Church, ZBB and a small handful of others.

    I also think that EC could have changed and he has chosen not to. There are artists that came out 4-5 years ago that just released another album and they jumped right on the bandwagon. EC has not. I give him credit for that.

    Are any of them “true country?” Not really. But I do not think they are bad for country. Whereas I do feel that Bryan, Aldean and FGL are bad for country.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Heard this song on three different radio stations within 10 mins of one another the other morning. I’m not crazy about it. Like someone posted earlier, just sounds like Springsteen pt 2. So I’m sure it will go to #1 or get darn near close. My take on EC is that when he first came out I didn’t mind him. Liked his 1st and 2nd albums alright. But, when Chief came out, he kinda lost me. I know that’s hard to understand for all the EC fan club members but I wasn’t crazy about ” Drink in my hand ” and “Springsteen.” Just seemed like songs to sell to me and they worked. I also think that he’s not the outlaw he says and/or people/fans think. I think his outlaw persona was made by people over him as another option for folks that aren’t into the true pop country( i.e. Lady A, Rascal Flatts, Band Perry, etc, I could go on and on). I believe there’s a lot of people that hate the pop country groups and EC is their option to be the outlaw/ outsider even though he’s nothing of the sort. Just my opinion.

  • Try exposing your wife to your kind of music and ask her what she thinks. Then ask her why she likes her kind of music. Maybe she only like those because she was not exposed to the other side of country music. But then maybe she really can connect with mainstream country.

    Sometimes we show our superiority with our tastes without inquiring why a certain person likes the genre he/she likes. I used to think that way too. Until I learned to engage in conversation with people who likes music I don’t (people who like Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Nickelback, Creed) and found they can actually explain their reasons for it. Atleast they know why they like a particular artist or songs and not just going with the flow (as what most pop music fans are doing).

    • Dude….don’t lump Creed in with those other three. My Own Prison was a phenomenal album, and hating Creed only became a “cool” thing because of the perceived Christian thing, which wasn’t true to begin with. In other words, it became cool just so people could trick themselves into thinking they were “rebellious thinkers” because they hated on a Christian band. Scott Stapp might be a douche, but remember without Creed there’s no Alter Bridge, who are probably the best modern rock band of this generation.

  • Either you stay in the shallow end of the pool or go out into the ocean.

    When it comes to Eric, I think he’s cute. I would rather look at Eric than Zac Brown’s knitted…toilet paper roll cozy on his head.

    Women love George Strait because of his classy, handsome features.

    Men go on and on about Carrie’s legs or Miranda’s good looks.

    I’ll watch Eric’s videos with or without sound, simply because he’s manly cute.

    • Umm… no. I don’t think I’ve ever found Carrie Underwood sexy. Nice legs and all but not my cup of tea. I’ve never thought much of Miranda Lambert in the looks department either. She’s always seemed about tacky to me and trying way to hard to squeeze into dresses way too smal (although I do like my women just a little on the tacky side of course :) ). Kasey Musgraves drives me nuts. Kimberly Perry and her “hey” hooks get me going. Sarah Evans any day.

      Eric Church cute? I really don’t see it. That’s interesting though. I do seriously get the Blake Shelton thing. Never understood the Jake Ownes thing (a lipstick tatoo on his bicep? barf).

  • http://y108.cbslocal.com/2013/01/08/zac-brown-performed-national-anthem-without-his-hat/

    Guess what…Zac Brown is handsome without that stupid welded-on hat.
    Check it out. Take that hat off, Zac. You’re adorable without it.

  • I read Trigger’s review, and then read a lot of the responses before I clicked to listen. Reading through the conversations, I figured that, against my not wanting to, I would probably end up liking the song.

    Nope… Sux… Couldn’t make it all the way through…

    It’s like a bad 80s MTV pop song… add a whiny singer and some Max Wienberg (Springsteen) drums.

  • Took his hat off to sing the anthem (I honestly always just assume his head got cold or something). That’s class. You wouldn’t see Jason Aldean take his hat off (way too vein)… He never has that I’m aware of actually.

    I may get egged for this but one of my favorite anthem performances was by the Dixie Chicks. I’m on the opposite end of the political spectrum but I still miss them (the whole thing is just sad on both sides of the controversy).

    • Zac Brown I mean.

    • I worked an Aldean show last year. He took his hat off at the end for a bit, and I think it’s pretty well known that outside of his stage getup he just wears a cap, like a lot of men.

      Now, I’m not Jason’s biggest fan, musically, but I do like a lot of his non-hits. Each of his albums is peppered with excellent songs (Even if I Wanted to, Asphalt Cowboy, My Memory Ain’t What it Used to Be, Back In This Cigarette, Love Was Easy, Church Pew or Bar Stool, I Ain’t Ready to Quit, I Don’t Do Lonely Well, Stare At the Sun, etc). If you hate Aldean’s image and wonder what he’d be like if he just sang his goddamn songs, I’d suggest taking a look at the songs from that list. All great songs that never reached radio.

      I’m all for hating on guys who release garbage like 1994 and That’s the Only Way I Know–hands down the worst song that EC has ever been involved with–but there are some cases where the rest of the album is worth a listen. Aldean is one of those cases.

  • Vain…Yes, Jason Aldean is sooo vain, he probably thinks this blog is about it.

    I’m being transparent, I don’t care what any of them look like if the music is good.
    I like Zac’s music. I think Zac is great to his fans. He really does have a good heart.

    Back to Eric, I like the beginning of this song but it falls apart at the end.

  • one of my roommates told me about this site. And my first thought was; this site is just a blog. And what blogs have any credibility? Because all blogs are full opinions of people who want to express them for the sake of argument. For one the title is saving country music but your logo looks like an album cover for Bret Michaels. Do you enjoy writing about people and critiquing them on a blog? Well obviously you do. Time changes everything. Including music. George Strait will always be the king, but just because artists don’t follows his style the way he presented it doesnt mean theyre wrong and not country

  • I was watching CMT just now(I know, I know, but still without it I wouldn’t have found some really good artists like whiskey myers, it’s the same reason I listen to country radio, There are gems in there) And this came on, the video for it, It’s OK, I’ve heard it before, but decided to really tune in this time, It’s OK, I don’t see what all the hype about it is, and I don’t understand the music video, Is it a sequel to springsten? A he left his gometown and its been commercialized, What? Same with the meaning of the song, can anyone explain this to me?

    • Eric Church doesn’t even know what these videos mean, and he’s admitted as much. He released another video that is supposed to help explain the characters more a couple of days ago, but it still has an ambiguous, open narrative that doesn’t make any sense to anybody but its makers. I would love to talk about it, but apparently I’m “obsessed” with Eric Church and will get screamed at if I post another article about him.

  • I’ve never understood the need to criticize music. I listen to all genres but country is my favorite. Some songs sold as country don’t fit the label in my opinion….but I still like the songs. Many of today’s country was yesterday’s southern rock.

    NO ONE is force fed any kind of music today. There are too many ways to get music now for anyone to claim that with any kind of credibility. If you can read this, you have internet and you can find ANYTHING.

    I think many like to put down artists, songs, or even genres to inflate their own self importance and how “musically enlightened” they are.

    On the flip side, I see how I could be seen as putting myself above others by showing how enlightened and musically democratic I am.

    To sum up my two cents: Enjoy the music, change the station/webpage/youtube video/etc. if you don’t like what you are hearing. There is too much music to enjoy for you to be wasting time on criticism.

    • The millions of people who listen to radio are “force fed” what they play. If we change the station the same songs are on the other stations. Until recently we could listen to country radio without them playing pure pop and pop/rap songs and synthesized music. I’m not a fan of country going pop. We already had plenty of pop radio and don’t want more.

  • You all need to open your ears and grow up. I don’t know what youre listening to but Eric Church is country music. And im supprised that TRIGGER wote this because TRIGGER dosent know anything about country music.

    • Eric, get off the computer!!!

  • WHOA Trigger!

    You said:
    “an obvious ripoff of Shooter Jennings”

    Like a toke of White Widow or Purple Kush; I still haven’t stopped laughing!

    Surely you’re not comparing Eric Church to Shooter Jennings (D J Qualls with a beard)?

    *IF he was a mind too, I’d like to think Church would be smart enough to “rip-off” Waylon Jennings and not the WAY-OFF pitch, {laugh}, Shoo {laugh}, Shoo {laugh},
    Waylons kid

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