Being in the happy position of not really having to please anyone other than himself and his fans Eric Church got into character for 2014's The Outsiders whose cover art is an update on The Highwaymen. Describing the title track as a cross between Waylon Jennings and Metallica Church and Co. take the sledgehammer approach and make it rock out when the main riff kicks in. "I really see this album as a game-changer for us," he said. "I want people to understand that we're here and that we will be reckoned with." No doubt. The organ driven "Like a Wrecking Ball" has echoes of another Church hero, Gregg Allman. There's also a cover of Shel Silverstein's "The Devil and Billy Markham" and the rootsy "Devil, Devil (Prelude: Princess of Darkness)," which is unlike anything else he had attempted before.
Longtime collaborator Jay Joyce once again joined Church for production duties on The Outsiders. Eric says he made a "conscious effort" to challenge himself on the project, "We were at a point in our career where I understand that we had two choices. I could've continued to do what ‘Drink in My Hand,' ‘Springsteen,' ‘Creepin',' I know how to do those things. I know how to continue the career that way. I think we made a conscious effort to challenge ourselves artistically and to do something...that was artistic. That's what we did...That's what we chose on this album. We made it that way." It resulted in yet another double platinum hit, debuting at the No. 1 spot on both the Billboard Top 200 and the Billboard Top Country Album charts.
"Eric Church is working on a level that few other country artists of his generation can touch. Shrewd, defiant, sly and funny, Eric Church has succeeded in what he set out to do: He's using the power he's accrued from making hit records to make exactly the kind of album he wants, heedless of industry approval." - Ken Tucker, NPR Music
1. The Outsiders
2. A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young
3. Cold One
4. Roller Coaster Ride
6. Broke Record
7. Like a Wrecking Ball
8. That’s Damn Rock & Roll
1. Dark Side
2. Devil, Devil (Prelude: Princess of Darkness)
3. Give Me Back My Hometown
4. The Joint
5. The Outsiders (Extended Version)
6. Come Together