I have been a member of The Church Choir, Eric Church's fan club, since all the way back in 2006. Being a member has always had its benefits, be it access to exclusive content and merchandise, or invites to some once-in-a-lifetime events, but by far the most surprising perk occurred this Weds., Nov. 4th, when Eric released a brand new surprise album and gave his fan club exclusive access.
The album, entitled Mr. Misunderstood, has an interesting backstory. Church wrote the first song late this summer. 20 days later, he had 18 songs written. 20 days following that, he had recorded 10 songs, and 30 days later, the album was released.
It's not his strongest album to date. Fans looking for another Chief won't find it here. But I see Mr. Misunderstood as a gift, both literally and figuratively. It's a gift to his wife and children; to the "Mr. Misunderstoods" of the world; to the dedicated Church Choir members; and to anyone who just loves listening to great music. It's original, a bit impromptu and raw. If you have any questions about who Eric Church is, this album will provide the answers.
Three Year Old - Church, Beathard, Criswell
Notable lyric: Walking barefoot through the mud will knock the rust right off your soul; I learned that from a three-year-old.
This is the only song on the album that many of us had heard before. It's adorable and heart-warming because it's about Church's young son Boone McCoy. It's a great reminder of how much we can all learn from the innocence of children.
Mixed Drinks About Feelings - Church
Notable lyric: My "figure it out" has never been more confused, I'm having mixed drinks about feelings and you.
A duet with the soulful Susan Tedeschi, Mixed Drinks About Feelings is bluesy and sad and speaks to anyone who's had a broken heart. We've all been there, and this song masterfully captures the feeling of confusion and hopelessness that comes with a breakup. It's just really well written, and provides plenty of "Damn, that's a good line" moments, plus the vocals will hit you straight in the gut.
Holdin' My Own - Church
Notable lyric: If I'm proof of anything, God sure loves troubadours.
Eric Church is certainly an outlaw, Mr. Misunderstood himself, but he's also a dad and a husband, and this song highlights that aspect of his life. It almost has a beachy sound, which makes me think maybe touring with Kenny Chesney rubbed off on him. But the content is as true as it gets: Nothing is more important than family. It's a really beautiful sentiment and it makes me happy as a fan, not only of the artist but of the man himself, to know that he's found peace.
Mr. Misunderstood - Church, Beathard
Notable lyric: Hey there, weird kid in your high-top shoes, sitting in the back of the class, I was just like you.
This might be one of my all-time favorite Eric Church songs, and that's saying a lot. But I love it because it tells his story. In the age of reality singing competitions, it's nice to see some artists come up "the old-fashioned way." Blood, sweat, tears and a beat-up guitar, and not a cookie-cutter version of everyone else. More importantly, this song is a message to future country artists that it's OK to break the mold. "Mr. Misunderstood, I understand."