Eric Church: Songs That Should’ve Been Singles

Eric Church has had hit after hit on country radio, but here are eight songs we wish we could've turned up loud on the local station.

Written by Annie Reuter
Eric Church: Songs That Should’ve Been Singles
Eric Church; Publicity Photo

The process of choosing a single for radio is often as arduous a task as writing the song. Each month, Sounds Like Nashville will feature a different artist and explore songs from his or her catalogue that we wish made it to radio. Make no mistake, this is no critique of the artist or label, it’s simply a list of songs we love so much that we think deserve to be in the spotlight. This month, we take a closer listen to Eric Church’s back catalogue and find eight gems that warrant airplay.

“These Boots” – from Sinners Like Me

It’s always a special moment in Eric Church’s live show when he performs “These Boots.” Often, his fans take their boots off their feet and raise them high in the air — sometimes throwing them at him to autograph on stage. The song itself shows the singer’s more sentimental side as he sings how the “damndest thing I’ve ever seen them do is walkin’ out on you.”

“What I Almost Was” – from Sinners Like Me

When some look back at life full of regret, Church takes the high road and is instead thankful for what he didn’t become. Whether it’s a college he got a full ride to for football only to get injured months later or running out on a no-good money-fueled relationship, he stood his ground and chased after his dreams. “I just had to follow my gut and I thank God I ain’t what I almost was,” he sings. Thank God for all of us he decided to chase after music!

“The Hard Way” – from Sinners Like Me

This track shows a nostalgic Church looking back on the difficult lessons he’s learned in life. Whether it’s a terrible car crash that leaves a friend injured, being too scared to ask his girl to marry him or not taking a moment to tell his dad how much he loves him, Church gets his point across poignantly. “Regrets been known to give a man a beating / but I ain’t in the mood for fighting back this evening,” he reasons.

“Lotta Boot Left to Fill” – from Carolina

This edgy, guitar fueled barn burner calls out today’s modern music for being inauthentic and often breeding polished one-hit wonders and boy bands. Church is far from this description as he sings, “Well I don’t think Waylon done it that way …You still got a lotta boot left to fill.” But don’t fool him for being too arrogant as he well knows he’s not quite in the same league as Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams or Johnny Cash, claiming at the song’s close, “I guess we all got a lotta boot left to fill.”

“Carolina” – from Carolina

An ode to his home of North Carolina, the title track off his second studio album paints the picture of where The Chief grew up. A nostalgic and sentimental song of wanting to go back to one’s roots, it’s a beautiful and vivid image put to music. While Church loves what he does, it’s easy to understand why he would miss the familiar of his home state. It’s a song that many can relate to and a gem that would have no doubt stood out on country radio.

“Young and Wild” – from Carolina

“Young and Wild” tells the story of a reckless and youthful Church who stole alcohol from a store and landed in jail, burned some hearts and lived on the edge. A rite of passage song, Church reasons, “I might not do it the same but I’d do it all again / just stay young and wild as long as you can.” It’s a song for all the kids who pushed their limits but came out the other end a little bit older and whole lot wiser.

“Over When It’s Over” – from Chief

Despite his superstar status, even Church sometimes loses in a relationship. “Over When It’s Over” is a unique way of looking at the end of a relationship. On the track, Church likens the goodbye to the end of a war, the losing side of a boxing match and a heart attack. The end is inevitable even though both parties clearly don’t want to say farewell.

“Broke Record” – from The Outsiders

On many Church tracks, the musical accompaniment is just as important as the lyrics and this is exactly what happens on “Broke Record.” The seductive beat and Church’s deep growl share how he just can’t seem to walk away from his fiery lover. The obsession he has with his lady has his friends going crazy as he keeps talking about how his heart keeps skipping a beat with his latest infatuation. A vivid way of describing the start of a relationship, Church gets his point across like [cough, cough] a broken record.