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Eric Church, ‘Country Music Jesus’ — Story Behind the Lyrics

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

One of the most thought-provoking songs on Eric Church‘s chart-topping, Grammy-nominated ‘Chief’ album is ‘Country Music Jesus.’ Co-written by the country star with Jeremy Spillman, the song laments those who think country music needs “saving” by someone who’s “preaching from the book of Johnny Cash.” Eric sat down with The Boot to explain the song’s defiant lyrics.

“That song is a little tongue-in-cheek,” Eric insists. “There was a particular critic who was lumping me in with a new generation, a new breed, and they didn’t like where the music was heading. [The critic thinks] that we need to harken back to Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings — to make that kind of music. It bothered me, because though I revere Cash and Waylon, I don’t think we make the same music they did. They made different music than Hank Williams made. Even at a later time, guys like Garth Brooks came along and made different music. They changed the genre.

“It’s my job to pick up the flag and take it somewhere it hasn’t been,” continues the singer-songwriter. “So, this song was my disagreeing with his inference that we had to make music sound like it was 1974. The evolution of music is good. You pay homage to who got you there, and then you take it somewhere else.”

Watch Eric Sing ‘Country Music Jesus’ Live (song starts at 1:04)

Watch Eric Church Sing Live in Our Studio
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