For the past decade-plus, the country superstar Eric Church has carved out a niche for himself as a sort of outsider’s Nashville insider, a rebel who fills arenas while operating within the pop-country system. That’s been working out for him. Church released Desperate Man, his last album, a couple of years ago, but right now he’s enjoying one of his biggest-ever hits with the Luke Combs collab “Does To Me.” And today, Church has come out with a new country song that challenges the ways that country songs tend to work.
Church’s new song “Stick That In Your Country Song” is a seething, explosive rocker about people going through struggles. He sketches out poverty and oppression and violence in places like Detroit and Baltimore. He sings about shattered young veterans and overworked, underpaid teachers. And then he offers up a challenge: “Stick that in your country song/ Take that to #1/ Get the whole world singing along.”
I hear “Stick That In Your Country Song” as a direct provocation to Church’s peers — to stop ignoring the rest of the world, to write songs that deal with realities instead of fantasies. “Stick That In Your Country Song,” which comes from the songwriters Jeffrey Steele and Davis Naish, also works as a hell of a song in itself, a slow-build stomper with drive and purpose. Listen below.
Church has an as-yet-untitled new album on the way, and he also debuted the song “Never Break Heart” as part of an ACM special in April.