There's no reported deep-seeded controversy around him or his recording career. He's just this honest guitar players who came up in the industry with good ol' music for the crowds that wanted it. The only difference now as opposed to how he started is a little more freedom to be "bolder" with his writing. Things on this album are just a little more adult and complex, but I think he's remaining true to who he is overall.
"Creepin'" ficks the album off, and already it feels like we're down in the swamps of the deep south. The use of banjo is realy interesting, and not necessarily something you hear in mainstream country anymore. He's also got this old-school voice, kind of like Willie Nelson, but a rock edge to it. The use of electric guitar and that drum set is what, I think, sets the music apart from any down-home country we're used to hearing.
Second up is "Drink In My Hand," the second single from the album, which was almost immediately a chart-topper. Here's the video, showing off his fans and the tour as well:
"Keep On" is a pretty cute flirty song. This one kind of reminds me of some of his earlier work, like, let's dance around the bar to this one. It's got a good beat and cute lyrics. Not too much to say on this one, other than it's okay and a nice little addition to the album.
We slow things down a bit with "Like Jesus Does." If you've ever heard most down-home country music, it has a lot to do with God and whiskey and women, and this song is no exception. It's got it all. It's a dedicated number to the girl he loves and who clearly loves him too. It's all about being thankful. This is that slow-down moment in the show where the couples are swaying together happily.
"Hungover & Hard Up" is something kind of great for the morning after. The beat's good and the vocals are soft enough to notice facilitate a headache. Ha, yeah, I don't get hangovers, but this is a pretty great one either way.
The next song was the lead single from the album, "Homeboy."
"We need a country music jesus to come and save us all." Yup, that's a line in "Country Music Jesus." Wasn't this what Kid Rock was trying to achieve? Kidding... sort of. Basically, we need a strong country man to bring back country music to what it was. Is that what Eric's going for? Who knows. It's a good song though, for all those good country fans who love it. It's one of those tribute to country songs that fills that nostalgia need this genre seems to have.
"Jack Daniels." I already love it for the title alone. Okay, so the lyrics are more about the hangover and the rough night he gave. But... I don't know, still a pretty good number. It's a good song. And getting lost in drinking isn't all entirely bad... right?
As a Jersey girl, I should immediately love "Springsteen." Yah know what? It's actually a great reminiscent song. Here's an acoustic-ish AOL session video:
"I'm Gettin' Stoned" brings me back to the "Smoke a Little Smoke" Eric Church. Heh, yeah, it's everywhere. Good ol' boys aren't always, by definition, so "good." Ah the joys of heartbreak. Hey, sometimes you drink, sometimes you wallow in other ways.
"Over When It's Over" is the final song to the album, and it's a decent close out. It maintains that country beat throughout, and is chock-full of confusing heartbreak. It's a well-done piece and includes this female overlay voice that gives the sound as a whole a beautiful roundness.
Am I snobby for being partial to the singles here? Maybe, or maybe his management has a good ear for what will hit home the best with listeners.
I think guys like this and Jason Aldean and the like are making a whole new sub-genre of country music, and maybe re-defining country rock as a whole. They bring in elements of hard rock and rap that have helped transcend the genre to new listeners. While not every song is appealing, when Eric gets it right, he knocks it out of the park.