‘The Outsiders’ Eric Church
Eric Church is developing two separate and distinct personalities that seem to wrestle each other in a glorious battle royal on his fourth and best album, The Outsiders.
Theres that guy Chief, with the hat and sunglasses and the love of rock n roll, whiskey, stubborn streaks and fistfights. And then theres the version of Church who wins (or loses) the girl, stirs moments of universal reverie and tickles the funny bone with program director-wooing hits that appeal to country musics bedrock fan base.
Both these guys are at their best on The Outsiders, one-upping each other with songs that embrace the breadth and history of country music while ignoring those conventions to explore far afield. Managing this trick requires a delicate touch, and Church and producer Jay Joyce push the limits while maintaining a balance that leaves a little something for everyone.
Dont like the heavy rock riffs and leather jacket-clad message of the Black Sabbath-leaning title song? Well, theres the tear-jerker ballad A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young.
The Outsiders is the rare album that invites debate, and asks us to take sides. In this case, pick freely. You cant lose.
– Chris Talbott,