Eric Church's 'The Outsiders' debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Country Albums chart and the all-genre Billboard 200 when it was released last year. But the singer says the success of the record can be traced to one of the most famous rock bands of all time.

"I became a bigger fan [of the Beatles] just over the last eight, 10 years, where you kind of dive in and almost do a study course," he explains to AZCentral.com. "I learned a lot, especially as a fan of albums. Those are the guys that really took that to a whole new level with 'The White Album' and 'Sgt. Pepper's.' That was some bizarre stuff."

The North Carolina native says he emulated some of the band's riskier moves when conceptualizing 'The Outsiders.'

"If you listen to our four albums," Church continues, "this one is probably the outlier, almost like 'The White Album' or maybe 'Sgt. Pepper's.' You put it up with the whole catalog, it's the most different, the one that jumps out at you. You could see where the other three are kind of grouped together, but that one comes at you from a different place, and that's what it was designed to be."

The 'Talladega' singer earned critical acclaim, and his first No. 1 album, with 'Chief,' which was released in 2011. The record spawned two chart-topping hits, including the multi-platinum 'Springsteen.' And while most artists would have thought they finally hit their stride and copied that success, Church isn't most artists.

"It was very, very important that ['The Outsiders'] was something that our fans and everybody else knew immediately, this is very different, this is very much not [me] just continuing down the same path," he explains. "And it's somewhat risky in a way. I remember thinking when we finished the album and I listened back to it, I was concerned we had nothing commercial, coming off the biggest commercial success. I didn't know what that would mean.

"But I knew that I liked the record. I knew I liked that it was different," Church adds. "I knew I liked that it was almost a concept album that almost needed to be consumed -- it does need to be consumed -- as a unit."

Church recently announced a new leg of his Outsiders World Tour, which includes Brothers Osborne, the Drive-By Truckers, JD McPherson, the Cadillac Three and the Lone Bellow taking turns as his opening acts.

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