Alison Baker Ms. Davis English 12 7 April 2013 Kenneth Eric Church Everyone has their own opinion on “good” and “bad” music. But the fault lies within the decision on whether something is good or bad, because that is an opinion. Many artists have worked hard to evolve music into what it is today and all music deserves respect. One genre of music that has survived through the times and tribulations of our society is Country. It has shifted gears many times in history but has always kept a large following and catered to people who feed on reality.
Country is said to be a dead genre, full of fake rhinestone cowboys that would not know the difference between a Chevy and a Ford, a Justin or a Laredo, or Budweiser and Natural Light. But today’s country artists are reviving the old outlaw ways. The foundation that was built on Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr. , Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings is being fulfilled by Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, Luke Bryan, and the one and only Eric Church. What is it about Eric that sets him apart from other contemporary male country artists?
It is that Eric does not dress up his act but presents it on a humble note so that anyone, young or old, big or small, rich or poor, can enjoy the unique sound of his music, and release their inner outlaw. Kenneth Eric Church is an influential contemporary country artist who enjoys creating real music for real people, who finds inspiration in past country music legends and movies, and uses his talents to create hits that make him a household name. Eric Church has won over his large fan base by capturing the best of both worlds in his music (Tucker 1).
Many of Eric’s slower songs have become his signature. Eric blends piano and acoustic guitar to create beautiful songs about love, heartache, and his childhood memories. He also manages to capture a completely different view with heavy honky tonk inspired music. Eric credits his music success to being all about the music itself. It is what he eats, sleeps, and breaths; his way of life. He says “Once your career becomes about something other than the music, than that’s what it is. I’ll never make that mistake. The loyalty Eric has for his fans has won heir loyalty as well. Eric has acquired a lot of fans by touring with big names like Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, and Toby Kieth, Miranda Lambert, and Bob Seger (Tucker 1). With the combination of successful headliners and Eric’s honest and truthful nature, it is easy for listeners to identify themselves with him. Growing up Eric had many musical influences. As you can tell in a lot of his songs he is very much inspired by metal and heavy rock. Eric enjoys 1980s metal bands ACDC and Metallic (Doyle 2). Eric’s greatest influence however, is old outlaw country.
Eric starts out his concert playing”Country Music Jesus”, a song that begs for the coming of a “long haired hippie prophet preachin’ from the book of Johnny Cash”; one of Eric’s inspirations (Doyle 3). He also finds Inspiration in the music by Merle Haggard. Enough that he wrote a tribute song called “I Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” in it Merle himself makes a special appearance. Merle and Eric share a similar attitude; unapologetically masculine, unapologetically romantic, and unapologetically Christian (Novak 1).
Eric also models his music style after Hank Williams Jr. and Waylon Jennings, who are also mentioned in his songs, in hopes to continue the rowdy country zeal into this generation. One of Eric’s songs was inspired by the movie, “The Green Mile”. After watching Tom Hanks in this film, Eric sat down and wrote “Lightening”, the song that would win over Capitol Nashville. Country music heavyweight, Arthur Buenahora, describes the song by saying “The hairs on my arms were standing up. Our format tries to paint these perfect Norman Rockwell pictures of stuff.
Eric was missing that part of it, but there was something more real about it. ” (Doyle 2). No matter what Eric’s music is both inspired and instigated by Jack Daniels whiskey, and of course there is a song written about it. Eric’s drink of choice is diet Coke and Jack D before every concert and recording session (Doyle 3). It is his vocal warm up (Anderson 1). Church and his crew drink so much Jack Daniels that the whiskey empire makes them their own bottle with a medallion of Eric’s face on them.
While on tour, Eric autographs the empty bottles and sells them at the merchandise table for two hundred dollars (Doyle 2). Eric Church also serves as an inspiration to many young country fans and aspiring artists. He and producer Jay Joyce are pushing the boundaries of country music and selling out arenas, and everyone seems to be embracing it (Price, Evans, Waddell, Ray 1). Eric’s music success is credited to his upbringing. Growing up in the small town of Granite Falls, North Carolina, Eric learned good values.
Always a fan of music, Eric turned to music after learning he could no longer play high school football, so he bought a guitar and taught himself how to play. Eric began performing in local dive bars and honky tonks, performing some of his own originals. After high school graduation and becoming engaged, Eric began attending Appalachian State University, but a career in music was still calling. Eric looked to further his music career by forming the Mountain Boys Band with his brother, roommate, and a close friend.
Eric soon after broke off the engagement when his father in law to- be tried to talk him into a corporate job, he just wasn’t having it. Eric picked himself up and moved to Nashville. After much time and tribulation, Eric was signed by Jay Joyce at Capitol Nashville. Eric’s first single, “How Bout You”, lingered on country music charts but did not get higher than 30. Later Church debuted his first album, Sinners Like Me. This album also included the singles “Two Pink Lines” and “Guys Like Me”. In 2006, Eric made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, an event that says “you’ve made it”.
In 2009, Eric released the single, “Love Your Love the Most” and his new album, Carolina. The release party for the album was held at Eric’s former college, Appalachian State. The album did very well and included three more singles, “Hell on the Heart”, “Carolina”, and “Smoke a Little Smoke”. Over the course of two years, from 2011 to 2013, Eric has released many singles from his newest album, Chief. “Homeboy”, “Drink in My Hand”, “Springsteen”, “Creepin’”, and “Love Your Love the Most” have become radio favorites and continue to climb the charts today.
Eric was also featured on Jason Aldean’s track “The Only Way I Know”, along with Luke Bryan. This single has skyrocketed in the past month. As for now Eric is preparing for the release of his first live album, which he is very excited about. Eric has always wanted to do a live album so he could share the energy of the show and the crowd. On April 9th, 2013, Caught In Action will be released. Eric has won us over with his talent, reality, and inspiration, and will continue to make hits for country radio, because it is his main goal in life.