Eric Church Offers Free “First Listen” For His New Album “The Outsiders” Through NPR
Eric Church's fourth studio album, The Outisders, is set for release February 11, but you can hear the rock-infused country album now for free or buy an advanced copy of the album. The new album, which continues Church's blurring of the lines between gritty rock riffs and country music, is being streamed via NPR's website all week long as a part of a fundraising venture for the public radio network.
While the album has stirred up controversy as being too "rock & roll" for the country music genre, The Outsiders isn't much of a divergence from the sound of Church's highly successful album, Chief. While songs like "That's Damn Rock & Roll" and the title track, "The Outsiders", feature more of a southern rock sound than country vibe, Church also offers up songs like "Talladega", "Like a Wrecking Ball", and "Give Me Back My Hometown" that maintain more of a traditional country sound.
The Outsiders is one of many recent albums that has inspired a debate over the current state of Country music and what is and is not "real Country music". While acts like Church continue to add more of a rock & roll feel to some of their tracks (I'll admit the end of the song "The Outsiders" sounds a little like a southern-fried Metallica song), it's also easy to see a direct connection Church has in his songs to the original bad boys of country music that are now heralded as icons in the genre. Songs like "Broke Record" and "Dark Side" sound an awful lot to me like a 21st century versions of something Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, or Willie Nelson would have had on one of their albums in the heyday of the outlaw country days of the 1970s and 1980s.
If you want to check out the album for yourself, just hit the button below. It will be available all week, leading up to next Tuesday's official release. While streaming the album is free, tracks (or the entire album) can be purchased at regular song and album rates via iTunes or Amazon, with a portion of the proceeds going toward NPR.