Eric Church: 'The Outsiders' chief doesn't want fans to 'shuffle'


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Eric Church: 'The Outsiders' chief doesn't want fans to 'shuffle'

By Stephen L. Betts. CREATED Jan 31, 2014

Eric Church has what might best be described as a complicated relationship with social media and modern technology. In spite of the fact that he has more than more than 2.7 million followers on Facebook, and more than one million Twitter followers, he's pretty clear about where he stands when it comes to participating in either of those things himself.

"I've never tweeted and I never will," he says. "I’m not on Facebook and I never will be." [quotes via the Malay Mail/Reuters]

And when his eagerly anticipated album, "The Outsiders" drops Feb. 11, he's hoping that listeners who are used to the world of single-song digital downloads will treat this release the way the artist intended. "It’s going to aggravate me a lot if people hit 'shuffle' when they listen to this album," he notes. "It needs to be listened to as an album, from start to finish."

It should also be no surprise, however, to those who have followed his career, that while the follow-up to 2011's award-winning "Chief" is important to him, its success isn't as important as his drive to stay relevant as an artist, which is something that shaped his overall approach to making the record.

"If you are going to be a relevant artist, it is up to you to carry that artistic flag and do something with it," he says. "I don’t know how it's going to be received. I don’t know that I care. Creatively we are trying to be relevant with our music."

Another unique approach he's taken this time around is to craft music videos for the album's singles that are connected by recurring characters, something that starts with the most recent single from the album, "Give Me Back My Hometown." His early teases, even before the official release date for "The Outsiders" was announced, were leading up to something, he hinted, and that's been the intent from the outset.

"We know what the singles are going to be, so we've conceived and conceptualized what these videos will be," he explains. "Everybody you see in the 'Hometown' video has a story line that relates to each other. ... The further we get into this the more you're going to be able to look back and see how many clues we gave you to see just where this is going."

"The Outsiders" will be released Feb. 11.

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts ("Steve") is a Nashville-based journalist who started his career as a tour guide, karaoke operator and library assistant at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.