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Eric Church Surprises Fans With ‘Chief’

Michael Buckner, Getty Images for ACM

Eric Church has been tight-lipped on details of his upcoming third album, ‘Chief,’ only revealing his current single, ‘Homeboy.’ He’d rather fans have a fresh experience when they buy the CD on July 26.

“In this day and age of YouTube, I believe you let all your stuff out of the bag,” Eric tells The Boot. “I like the excitement of record day, buying that record and being able to not know what’s on it, and drive around in the truck for a couple of hours. July 27 is when I’ll start playing that stuff live. [laughs]“

The North Carolina native is protective over his music, which he meticulously sculpts. “I don’t know if other people think about it, but I’m obsessed with the order of the songs,” he reveals. “I think about the space between songs, because sometimes, it’s a big rockin’ song and the next one’s a ballad, and you don’t want to go right to it. You want to breathe a minute, then go to it. So I look at the spacing between them. You can get real anal and look, you’ll see there are different spaces between the songs on the album. A lot of albums these days are uniform, ours aren’t. We actually make them longer or shorter, depending on the songs.”

Of the 11 tunes on the album, the singer-songwriter is most looking forward to his fans hearing ‘Creepin,’ ‘Springsteen’ and ‘I’m Getting Stoned,’ all of which the father-to-be had a hand in writing.

“I knew ‘Creepin’ was going to be the first song on the record, because you feel it creep in,” he explains. “Not only is the title of the song ‘Creepin’,’ you feel it creep in, too. I love that part.”

The next may seem like an ode to the Boss, but it’s actually a love song. “I have such a reverence for Bruce Springsteen‘s career and how he’s built it,” Eric says. “The interesting part is it’s a love affair that takes place in an amphitheater between two people. It didn’t happen with Springsteen, ironically, it happened with another artist. I went to a concert when I was younger with a girl, and to this day when I hear that artist, it’s the soundtrack to that girl. I never think about her any other time, except when that song is on. That’s where the ‘Springsteen’ came from, and he seemed to be the perfect guy to craft that story around because of my love for him.”

And then there’s ‘I’m Getting Stoned.’ “As a songwriter, I love hooks,” Eric says. “A buddy of mine had a hook that talked about a girl that had gotten married and he always thought they’d get back together. I said, ‘Man, how was that?’ And he said, ‘She got her rocks and I’m getting stoned.’ I loved it. So we wrote it.”

How does he think fans will react to it? “I hope they laugh like we laughed!”

As for his live shows, Eric is already working out how the new songs will be incorporated into his setlist. “We’ve been practicing,” he reveals. “It starts with ‘Creepin’.’ [laughs] That’s all the sneak peak you get.”

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