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Album Review: “Carolina” by Eric Church

March 25, 2009

Carolina cover4 Stars


Eric Church has the potential to become country music’s next Dierks Bentley, whether or not he makes it big at radio. What I mean by this is that he is both a consistent songwriter and a talented singer who obviously enjoys what he’s doing and has the unique and rare ability to incorporate contemporary sounds with traditional qualities and values to create both a memorable and attractive song, a quality that spelt instant stardom for Bentley in his early years. It is these kinds of songs that make up Church’s long awaited sophomore album Carolina.

Not only did Church have a hand in penning every single track on this album, he manages continuously incorporate a feeling on honesty, personal relevance and universal significance in most, if not all of these tracks. From heartbreak to living on the edge Church covers a wide variety of circumstances that eventually apply to every life. in addition, this proud blue collar Carolinian provides a wide variety of emotions throughout this project from upbeat and rebellious to tortured and demeaned, each with it’s own special story to go along with it.

Carolina is a very risky and shifty album, exploring some major risk areas in both sound and writing that make it all the more interesting in the end. Church teams with producer Jay Joyce once again and stretches even more boundaries that his magnificent debut album dared to cross. Many of the album’s upbeat additions contain some of the most creative and intuitive production tricks that country has ever seen, approaching limitations that only big stars like Brad Paisley and Keith urban have dared to tackle. While songs like “Ain’t Killed Me Yet” apply hard core rock/country electric guitar, other songs like “Young And Wild” take a more stripped down approach, all in a successful attempt to better relate the song to the listener.

As far as general content, Carolina offers some interesting and imaginative perspectives to all different angles of both the the world and people in general. Church explores heartbreak from letting go, “Longer Gone”, to being tortured by one’s own destructive decisions, “Where She Told Me To Go”, and even in a very laid back manner, “Smoke A Little Smoke”. He also addresses being in love from the straight forward “Love Your Love The Most” to the high energy “Hell On The Heart”, each with its own feel of honesty and experience to accompany it. In fact it would not be a stretch to conclude that each of these songs was written based off of a personal experience by Church because he provides such a believable and effective performance.

Where this album shines the most however is when Eric goes beyond the traditional cliches and brings to mind some more “out there” subjects. The title track is an obvious shout out to Church’s home state of North Carolina as he explores how far he has come and how he keep reminiscing on that place. The closing track is a powerful recollection and tribute to those he has love in his life and how they have influenced him today. It’s song like these that provide not only the same honesty and artistry that the rest of the project possesses, but also a unique aspect to his writing that helps Church stand on his own. Even his shout out to traditional country, “Lotta Boot Left To Fill”, can be interpreted as a direct sequel to George Jones’ “Who’s Gonna Fill There Shoes”.

Church has defiantly proven that he knows what he is doing and how he wants to do it. Whether country radio or even the country community accepts him is out of the question, this blue collar country star has the talent and the urge to get it done. This album was not made to please the masses, but to please Church and those who want to, and should, take the time to listen.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Caroline permalink
    March 26, 2009 12:30 am

    I agree! CAROLINA is a great cd!

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