It’s pretty obvious that the country music superstar Eric Church has come a long way from its beginnings play barbecue joints in the mountains from western North Carolina during his college years in Appalachia State.
He released his first studio album, sinners like mein 2006, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But even back then, he made sure the music he put out was of the highest quality and as country as it could get in terms of mainstream appeal.
And a few years later sinners came out, in the 2010s we saw the emergence of bro-country take over the airwaves with songs we all know (and hate) about beer, trucks and girls.
Now, the problem wasn’t necessarily the subject matter itself (although it eventually completely overtook country radio and left little room for anyone with a different background or perspective)…it was that the lack of quality and effort that was so evident in basically every song to the point that it was almost nauseating.
But in a interview I dug up in 2007, Eric was light years ahead of his time, saying the problem wasn’t the songs about guys who like cold beer and drive a truck. He thought there wasn’t enough to the right perspective on how guys like this really feel in life:
“My first album was written from a male perspective, and frankly, I don’t think there’s enough of that in music anymore.
There are also strong emotions in the lives of guys who love cold beer and driving a truck.
And I have to say he was absolutely right.
Much of the real, complex emotions that most men feel were watered down and translated into words about back roads and staying out all night drinking, and he was one of the few to bring more concepts heavy and more meaningful to his songs.
The problem is that all that sentiment has been completely twisted and twisted and turned into bands like Florida Georgia Line (who are Luckily I’m going through a breakup now). That’s probably why Eric wasn’t played much on the radio at the time either, but I digress…
He went on to say that he doesn’t always appreciate how “clean and tidy” the genre can be at times, creating cookie-cutter songs that will all play well on the radio and eventually sound like the same way :
“The downside of the format is that it’s too neat and tidy…
You hear some of these people say they were influenced by Kenny Chesney. Now, I have nothing against him, but I think songwriters should be curious enough to ask who influenced Kenny.
Perhaps that same line of thought also inspired songs like “How ‘Bout You” on his debut album.
Eric also noted that no matter how flawed the genre is or how retrograde the thinking might be in terms of music people really want to hear, he wouldn’t want to do anything else:
“Country is just the best format for what I love to do. I couldn’t do it with any other kind of music.
You can file his entire take in the “things that’ve aged really well” folder…
“Sinners Like Me”