Eric Church is probably the best singer-songwriter of the young guns currently in country music. He consistently puts out terrific albums filled with songs that he’s written or co-written when many male singers in his genre are turning out utter tripe, written by a conglomerate of Nashville songwriters.
Church’s greatest lyric: “I’m a long gone Waylon song on vinyl,” an absolute perfect country lyric, from his 2013 single “Like Jesus Does” is actually one of the very few songs he’s ever recorded that he didn’t have a hand in writing. That song was co-written by Casey Beathard and Monty Criswell.
Here are the five best lyrics Church did take part in penning:
1. “Funny how a melody sounds like a memory/Like a soundtrack to a July Saturday night” – “Springsteen” (2012)
Eric Church’s massive hit “Springsteen” in 2012 from his album Chief really sent his career through the stratosphere and turned him into one of the biggest draws in country music. The song, which is likely the best of his career thus far, isn’t so much about Bruce Springsteen but about having memories attached to seeing an artist perform live in concert and the songs that artist performs. Church has never given up the actual artist that inspired the song, saying he used Springsteen to gain a larger audience.
2. “Get-ups, gimmicks/One hit wonders that don’t stick/Pretty boys acting tough/Boy bands give it up/And if it looks good on TV/It’ll look good on a CD/Shape it up, trim it down/Who gives a damn ‘bout who it sounds” – “Lotta Boot Left to Fill” (2009)
Eric Church is unique as far as modern country singers go, especially the men. He seems real in a genre filled with fakes. “Lotta Boot Left to Fill,” a non-single from his 2009 album Carolina, helps get this point across when Church performs a song calling out many of these fakes for their BS. You can’t help but believe that the “boy bands give it up” line is a direct reference to Rascal Flatts who actually kicked Church off of his first ever tour when he opened for them and played too long. Church on a Rascal Flatts tour is perhaps the biggest mismatch in country music history.
3. “And tip our hats/And raise our glasses of cold, cold beer/They say country’s fadin’/But just keep wavin’ that flag around here/And I know, it’ll keep on comin’ back/Long as people pledge allegiance/Where folks still pledge allegiance/I pledge allegiance to the Hag” – “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” (2006)
Name-dropping country music legends has become quite the annoyance in modern day country music, because almost every time a legend gets name dropped in song it comes off more disrespectful than homage – for instance Conway Twitty being brought up in Luke Bryan’s absurd “That’s My Kinda Night.” Eric Church, however, did it 100 percent the right way when he paid tribute to the great Merle Haggard on his 2006 debut Sinners Like Me with the song “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag,” that’s become a fan favorite among country fans at his concerts. Maybe the reason why it comes off as a good tribute is because Church is the real deal, unlike all of these other name-droppers.
4. “To Talladega, boys raise the/Whiskey in your glass, here’s to turn it up/Slowing down and cars that go real fast/We were laughing and living, drinking and wishing/And thinking as that checkered flag was waving/Sure would like to stay in Talladega” – “Talladega” (2014)
Eric Church’s 2014 No. 1 hit “Talladega” off of his most recent album The Outsiders is absolutely brilliant because, like “Springsteen” from the album before, it’s not necessarily about the place or thing that’s mentioned in the title or even the song – but the feeling of where you were and who you were with when that moment in time occurred. At the same time, like “Springsteen” with fans of Bruce Springsteen, it’s able to work on the surface as a song that NASCAR fans could love because it mentions fast cars going around the track at Talladega.
5. “I wore out more soles than I care to count/Done more stupid things than most would dare to/I’ve kicked myself more times than not/For the roads they led me down/But the damndest thing I’ve ever seen them do/Is walkin’ out on you” – “These Boots” (2006)
“These Boots,” off of Eric Church’s debut album Sinners Like Me in 2006, was never released as a single. However, you would never realize that based off of the reaction this song gets every time he plays it in concert. To say it’s a fan-favorite would truly be an understatement. “These Boots” is a heartfelt tune from Church about a tough and rowdy guy who’s done a lot of things in this old world and his boots have seem him through every bit of it, but the one thing he most regrets doing in those boots was walking out on the girl he truly loved. It’s country music poetics at its best.