It has been officially 11 years since country music star Eric Church released his third studio album, “Chief.” The platinum-selling performer took to social media on Tuesday (July 26) to honor the collection that changed the trajectory of his music career.
Church broke into the genre with his 2006 debut record “Sinners Like Me,” placing his name on the map with tracks “How ’Bout You,” “Guys Like Me,” and “Two Pink Lines.” The country outlaw star kept up the positive momentum with his critically acclaimed LP, “Carolina.” However, it wasn’t until his 11-song collection “Chief” in 2011 that he reached maximum stardom.
“11 years of Chief…. what’s your favorite song on the album?” wrote Church alongside a video featuring the cover art.
His devoted fan base the “Church Choir” was quick to respond, as they rattled off tracks from the fan-favorite collection. The catalog includes smash hits such as – “Drink In My Hand,” “Springsteen,” “Like Jesus Does,” “Over When It’s Over,” “I’m Gettin’ Stoned,” and more.
“I absolutely love every song on the ’Chief’ album. One of my favorite albums. Happy 11 years of Chief❤️❤️,” said a follower. “’Springsteen’ hands down. One of the first country songs I’ve heard. Been hooked on country ever since. Thank you for the memories,” said another.
Church sold 144,990 “Chief” albums and scored the No.1 spot on Billboard’s Country and Top 200 charts. In 2011, the well-rounded record was the second highest-selling behind Brad Paisley. Church received his first GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Album for “Chief” as well. Within the same year, the Academy of Country Music dubbed him as the “Top New Solo Vocalist.”
“We were in the top-album-of-the-year lists in Rolling Stone, Spin, and on NPR,” Church recalled in 2012 to the publication. “I was surprised but happy. It’s gratifying for me because it’s breaking down genres. We’re reaching people who don’t normally listen to country.”
The positive praise did not come as a surprise, as the state-of-the-art project had a way of commanding attention. Each track displays Church’s beloved Carolina drawl and ear-grabbing grit. The hitmaker worked alongside frequent collaborator Jay Joyce to produce “Chief” to perfection.
The former CMA Entertainer of the Year and Joyce have come a long way since making waves within the genre with “Chief.” Their latest project together was “Heart & Soul,” a triple album. The three-part record not only serves as his “longtime commitment to fans,” but also showcases how he constantly stays ahead of the evolving musical landscape. To execute each track, the two created a make-shift studio in a seasonal restaurant in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and recorded for 28 days straight.
“I’ve always been intrigued when a song is born in a writer’s room – there is a magic that happens there,” Church previously mentioned. “I wanted to put that in the studio form. So, every day, we would write a song in the morning, and we would record the song that night. Doing it that way allowed for the songwriters to get involved in the studio process and the musicians to be involved in the creative process. You felt a little bit like you were secretly doing something that was special, and you knew it… You started going, ’hmm, wait ’til the world finds out about this.'”
The mastermind previously wrapped up his Gather Again Tour, where he performed tracks from “Heart & Soul” and old-school classics. In late October, Church will be making a grand appearance at the “Harvest Moon” festival to headline. The 2-night only show will take place in Miramar Beach, Florida. Presale tickets begin Tuesday, August 2.