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Eric Church done playing games, seeks artistry over applause

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It’s not enough for Eric Church to be a country music performer; he wants to be an artist. In today’s culture, we often use the word “artist” to describe anyone who plays a musical instrument or sings, but in the truest sense of the word, an artist is so much more. An artist is someone who doesn’t conform to what the masses are doing; he has a vision of his own.

That certainly describes Eric Church and his latest offering “The Outsiders.” Eric Church’s latest album is no track listing of individual #1 wannabe’s but rather a compilation of songs that are intended to take the listener on a journey. In fact, in an interview with Radio.com published on February 25, Eric Church jokes that “Anybody puts it on shuffle I”ll come kill them myself.”

The reigning ACM Album of the Year winner intended for “The Outsiders” to be different than his award-winning album “Chief.” In the Radio.com interview, Eric Church explains:

It’s made to be listened to start to finish.... you take them out, mix them all up — totally different album, it’s a totally different journey. It’s one of the only albums I can think of that I really believe that, if you put it on shuffle, you’re going to have an entirely different experience than if you listen to it the way it’s presented.

An album that is meant to be listened to song by song, like turning the pages of a book until the story is told–now that’s a totally different approach than most musicians take. Throughout the last several decades, musician after musician has offered a collection of songs to fans, some of which would be released as singles, and some of which would end up in a top 20 chart somewhere, but Eric Church wasn’t interested in any of that.

He says:

And with this album, we made a conscious effort to make something that was artistic. I didn’t think about, ‘Am I gonna have enough hits on here? Is it going to sell as many records as Chief‘? I thought about, creatively, it has to be a better album, it has to be a more artistic album.

And Eric Church made just that. He actually wrote 121 songs in an attempt to make “The Outsiders” exactly what he wanted it to be. The fact that he poured over each one and picked them apart until he had only 12 remaining, says even more about his commitment to excellence in his artistry.

Clearly, Eric Church isn’t interested in traveling any well-worn path. He’s more interested in where the new path that he grinds out, leads. It’s what separates him from the pack and, in the end, will allow him to leave a mark that is an intricate design rather than one copycat thumbprint after another.

Read the full, fascinating interview with Eric Church at Radio.com.

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