North Carolina is an indie rock mecca, but it has spawned Eric Church who has his foot firmly in a different camp. During his formative years, Church regularly found himself at dive bars doing Jimmy Buffet covers and avoiding fisticuffs from the stage before he relocated to Nashville which is a scene that he more than embraced.
When Church was taken under the wing of Arthur Buenahora (responsible for signing Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert) things were always likely to be rosy. With a couple of number one records already under his belt, his fourth album, The Outsiders, is another expected collection from one of country’s multi-million selling artists.
There are times when his rowdy bar years are clearly an influence on the more rootsy and rocking tunes like Broke Record, but it is when Church plays the sensitive cowboy that he ticks the most boxes. A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young is a little on the obvious side but can be forgiven its faults as it presents Church’s voice in its best light when presented in this hushed drawl.
Church doesn’t offer much different to his formulaic mega stadium filling peers. If he is indeed an outsider as the album suggests, you would imagine his sizeable wallet will keep him company. Regardless, The Outsiders has some nice moments.