Eric Church’s music career began with some incredible staple country tracks before he moved into the outlaw side, but he’s always been his own man and his music shows it. Drawing on several different influences, from Bruce Springsteen to Metallica and AC/DC to Hank Williams Jr., he is one of the best singers and songwriters in country music.
In this article, we’ll go over the 15 best songs Eric Church has put out.
Church’s Chief album is the one that put him on the map when it came to radio hits and there might not have been a better song on the album than Springsteen. A big crossover hit, the track rose to number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking his first song to break into the top 20 while topping the country charts in both the US and Canada.
Full of references to Bruce Springsteen, one of his idols, the ballad is him at his best and helped set the foundation for his signature country sound going forward.
Some songs just have a sense of nostalgia about them, with everyone thinking of different fond memories when they hear them. Talladega is one of those tracks, with beautiful acoustic guitar and organ music, representing fun life experiences you’ll look back on and be glad you did.
The song itself was never one of Church’s best-charting tracks, but it saw incredible radio play in the Southeast, making it to number 43 on the Hot 100 and number two on the Hot Country charts.
3. Record Year
Record Year digs into the essence of this singer and is one of the best examples of music that any listener familiar with his work can identify as his. It’s got everything you want in an Eric Church song, from incredible songwriting to his signature short-line delivery.
The second single from his Mr. Misunderstood album, this track dives into all the ways a heartbroken man is trying to cope with his pain, from drinking to specific music. It eventually shot up to number one on the Country Airplay Chart, becoming his seventh number-one song on that listing.
4. Smoke A Little Smoke
Church is well-known for not limiting his intoxication to alcohol, with this song not only making that more apparent than ever but also bringing out the rebellious sound he was going for with his personal style. It was a departure from the smooth and pretty country tracks released alongside it on the Carolina album like Springsteen.
It’s got a unique rhythm and sound to it that isn’t sacrificed by trying to make it sound like a country song, it just is. Smoke A Little Smoke embodied the whole concept of leaving your worries behind, finding fans in all different kinds of country music listeners.
5. Mr. Misunderstood
Church has always seemed like, or at least portrayed, the misunderstood outcast, whether that be in his songs or the country music scene overall. Mr. Misunderstood takes on those feelings in a way, describing a misfit youth and giving out some encouraging words for the benefits of staying true to yourself throughout.
The track reached number 15 on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Hot Country charts while making it into the Hot 100 and peaking at number 84.
6. Drink In My Hand
I still remember when Drink In My Hand was released because the country radio stations seemed to never stop playing it. Another of the incredible tracks to come from Church’s Chief album, the song ended up being his first number-one track on the Hot Country Songs chart, and its uptempo, upbeat sound made it perfect for throwing back cold ones at the tailgate.
While he experiments with sound a lot, something we’ll see on this list, this track has some of the most country vibes in his discography and became an instant classic.
Carolina is one of Church’s prettiest laments, putting his songwriting abilities on display as he describes the areas of the Carolinas he grew up in and how it feels like it calls to him when he gets tired of being on the go so much.
Each verse slowly builds, both in his delivery and in the bass guitar, climaxing in the chorus in the classic style he has built up over the years.
8. Desperate Man
Church’s sixth studio album and the title track for it were both incredible. Desperate Man is more of a fan-favorite song than one that was one of his most successful commercially.
It dives into his roots in music, reminiscent of The Rolling Stones’ track Sympathy For The Devil while drawing on the outlaw country image he is so well-known for. A little funky, a bit rhythmic, and a speedy but short delivery sum up the song and fit in so well with his persona.
9. Stick That in Your Country Song
The year 2020 was good for Church with the release of Stick That In Your Country Song. The title might lead you to believe he’s taking shots at the industry, and in fairness, he kind of is; but in reality, he is bringing to light numerous social issues and making the statement that the country music platform should be used to address them.
It’s one of those tracks that actually notice a lot of issues that get overlooked, but it’s also one of the best songs in his live-performance sets. On top of being conscious, it’s a bonafide rocker and shockingly one of the very few Eric Church releases that wasn’t written or co-written by him.
10. That’s Damn Rock & Roll
Church definitely acts like an industry outsider and That’s Damn Rock & Roll is one of his—several—songs calling out the music industry as a whole.
The whole track is talking about how so many artists have lost the meaning behind their music and what being an artist is all about. He gives tons of examples in the song of artists’ ends and what they should really be focusing on. It also doesn’t hurt having Lzzy Hale in a backup vocalist role on this one.
11. Country Music Jesus
In the same vein as our last entry, Country Music Jesus is Church’s takedown of country music as a whole and how off-the-rails it’s gone over the years. It’s an over-the-top take on the industry, but it sounds so good coming out of his mouth.
Maybe the country music scene could use someone to come in and take us back to the good old days. The chorus of the song is amazing, featuring rock-solid banjo playing and call-backs to greats like Charlie Daniels and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
12. Give Me Back my Hometown
Give Me Back My Hometown was one of the best releases to come from Church’s The Outsiders album in 2014. It’s one of the tracks that shows his softer side and brings in the nostalgia factor that helped buoy songs like Talladega and Springsteen earlier in his career.
While his hometown never actually changed, it feels like it with the girl that made it worthwhile leaving. The track was his best debut single, entering the charts at number 95 on the Hot 100 and number 39 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
13. Heart on Fire
There’s no shame in name-dropping and quoting some of your favorite tracks and artists, and with Church being known for it you can’t be surprised it shows up quite a bit in Heart On Fire.
The song itself is one of his rockers but still has that softer touch to it that keeps it in the country genre, but it’ll take you back to Don McLean’s American Pie. Another successful track, it climbed to number five on the Country Airplay charts and nearly broke into the top 10 of the Hot Country Songs chart where it peaked at number 12.
14. Love Your Love The Most
Love Your Love The Most embodies the country style that Church developed in his earlier music before taking on the outlaw persona. It was his first top-10 hit and first platinum single, finding quite a lot of radio play and becoming a fan favorite for years to come.
It’s a softer song, running through all the things he loves in his life, comparing them all to how much he loves his wife and noting they all fall short of his devotion to her.
15. Guys Like Me
Guys Like Me is one of those country songs that kind of defined the feelings in the genre in the late 2000s. The old redneck adage of hard work, drinking beer, and overall having a simple life that’s rough around the edges are all on display as Church wonders why such a beautiful and well-off girl would be interested in him.
The track ended up peaking at number 17 on the Hot Country Songs chart and just squeezed into the Hot 100 at number 99.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
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