There's not too much about Eric Church that's not straightforward--and his latest single, "Smoke A Little Smoke," which champions, well, pretty much exactly what it says, is good proof of his honest take on life. If it ain't real, Eric isn't gonna sing about it.
And, country fans are increasingly responding to his brand of songwriting. We at Yahoo! Music ourselves have been supporters of the little-bit-outlaw, little-bit-balladeer rising star since his earliest days (he even came to visit us a few years ago in our offices and gave us an acoustic performance of "How 'Bout You" and "Two Pink Lines").
Eric's been busier than ever these days, playing packed shows on the road all year long (he'll be supporting Miranda Lambert on the CMT On Tour trek starting this fall), hitting the top 10 on the country charts, and even bringing his best Southern rock to a lesser-known cover on this year's Lynyrd Skynyrd country tribute album, Sweet Home Alabama. He did find a few minutes to sit down and answer a few questions for us, though, so kick back, light up (if you so choose), and get to know a little more about Eric right here.
You've never been one to shy away from somewhat controversial topics ("Two Pink Lines," etc. and now "Smoke"). Do you ever receive any flack from the more conservative country fans out there for singing honestly about these things?
EC: I don't really dwell on it. I've always been a guy that thought authenticity was the most important trait an artist could have. I can honestly say I have always kept it real. If some fans don't like that, then they won't like me.
"Smoke" is your fastest rising single to date. Given that it may actually be sort of non-family-friendly to some fans, does this surprise you?
Not at all. It's about kicking back and shutting off the world for a while. That applies to everyone.
On that note--outlaw country is resurging in a big way and getting general critical acclaim in a way that mainstream country is not. Since outlaw country has always been around, what would you account this new interest in it to?
I think it is directly related to the format making a more directed effort to target a broader demographic. We ain't all soccer moms. I think there is a group of artists right now that are breaking down barriers and doing things their way. That is a place good music will always live.
You were featured on the Skynyrd tribute album doing "Ballad of Curtis Loew." Why did you choose that song to cover? Was it your first choice?
It was. I thought it was a great song to make my own, put my own spin on if you will. I had no desire to do it like they did it because to me their version is unbeatable. It was also cool because I used to wear that one out in the clubs back in my early days.
Can you tell us what your wife's favorite Eric Church song is?
"You Make It Look So Easy." I wrote that for our wedding and sang it to her. So, that one is obvious!
As always, be sure to: