Renegade country singer Eric Church played to type at the CMAs in Nashville, where he performed his new single, “The Outsiders,” to a hungry crowd eager to hear new music from him.
Church broke through with his previous studio album, “Chief,” which won the Country Music Assn. Award for album of the year at the 2012 ceremony. At this year’s event, the North Carolina-born singer was teasing the release of his new album, also called “The Outsiders,” due out in February. No longer an underdog, Church nonetheless continued his role as the yin to Blake Shelton’s softer, more palatable yang at the CMAs.
Church performed one of the evening’s most anticipated events, and before the show, the singer expressed concern that "The Outsiders" might ruffle traditionalists’ feathers. He was probably right. Big, brash and borderline heavy metal in its delivery, the song sounded nearly as much like Motley Crue as it did Vince Gill.
“They’re the in crowd, we’re the other ones / It's a different kind of cloth that we're cut from” he sang, his trademark cop glasses shielding his eyes. Turns out the glasses served another purpose. As he and his guitar band hit voluminous chords, fireballs burst on the stage like this was a KISS concert. “We’re the fighters, the all-nighters, so fire it up and get a little higher,” he sang while behind him a bunch of men screamed: “That’s who we are.”
Was there any hint of twang? Yes, certainly, and a boogie-rock suggestive guitar solo that hinted at some Lynyrd Skynyrd or Black Oak Arkansas inspiration. And like those influences, "The Outsiders" felt built for driving and volume, a war cry from the trenches.
Watch it below: