Eric Church on the Songs Between the Hits

Must of Got Lost After Chief

Eric Church’s Chief album has been one of his most successful so far.

But according to Church, he didn’t automatically love what came with that success. He came to love it eventually, but he told that what was hard about touring after that album was learning how to make his shows special after going from bars to arenas.

“It’s an odd thing for an artist to go through: when you’re a bar or club act, and you have your lane, and you have your crowd, and then all of the sudden, boom,” he explained. “You’re in arenas. It was a tough transition for me.”

It was tough musically, he said, because he felt like he was rushing to get through the hits.

“And I lost a little bit during that era, of what made the show special,” he said. “It’s the songs in between the hits that make the show special.”

“I was a bit insecure with all of these people being at the shows all of the sudden, and not knowing exactly why, and not knowing how to entertain to that room. So that was an era that I didn’t love as much, ironically.”

His show now, no matter what kind of room he’s playing, is one that he describes as very loose. Church says he got it back to what it used to be, taking requests, playing for up to three hours and playing whatever he wanted.

“I enjoy it differently than I did four or five years ago, it was more of a grind then to do the same show every night, it irritated me,” he said. “Outsiders and Mr. Misunderstood gave me the freedom to play different shows, we have a big catalog we can draw from every night, it’s loose. It’s fun, and it’s the fun that we lost for a short period of time.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.