As the resident outlaw of country music, Eric Church has made a fast and furious mark on the industry.
Known for his trademark aviator sunglasses and Von Dutch trucker hat — and that one time he got kicked off the Rascal Flatts tour — Church has a presence and attitude unique to the “Chief” himself, one he will bring to the ACMs stage this year when he performs live April 6.
Unlike many of the other country artists dominating the airwaves, Church’s music often straddles and even blurs the line between country and classic rock, a style he credits to a variety of early influences from Hank Williams and Merle Haggard to Bruce Springsteen and Metallica. Church acknowledges his non-traditional vibe did not earn him many fans early on.
“We’re further into rock and roll than anyone else, and that’s why a lot of traditionalists have a major problem with me,” Church said.
However, after three headline tours and a 2013 Album of the Year win for the chart-topping album “Chief,” it’s clear Church’s rebel attitude is here to stay. Earlier this year, Church released his fourth full-length album, “The Outsiders,” which debuted at No. 1 and has already produced two top 10 hits with singles “The Outsiders” and “Give Me Back My Hometown.”
In 2013, Church took an even bigger leap outside the country boundaries, playing shows at Chicago’s Lollapalooza and Metallica’s annual Orion Festival. While his setlist may have been new to those crowds, Church believes great music should be able to transcend genre.
“It shows where we’re at in this day and time from a genre standpoint,” Church says. “Genres are either gone, or at best the lines are very blurred. You can throw so much into a rock festival from all different formats. Playing a festival like that, you really get the chance to let the music do the talking.”
While Church’s music will continue to do the talking, go behind-the-scenes into the mind of the chief with this playlist of songs from some of his greatest musical influences.
Check out these articles to read more about Church’s influences: