Eric Church is back with his first official new music since 2015’s surprise release Mr. Misunderstood, and the news comes with an album announcement, too. In a video message to his Church Choir fan club, Church revealed that his forthcoming LP, Desperate Man, will be released October 5th. The first single, also titled “Desperate Man,” will be available Friday, but is streaming for both paid and free tiers of the fan club now.
Co-written with Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Desperate Man” picks up where Mr. Misunderstood’s “Chattanooga Lucy” left off, walking in with a bit of funk and straight into a Southern rock anthem built on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” the Rolling Stones and spikes of Bakersfield guitar. But it’s also unmistakably Church, chugging forward with nonconformist rhythmic breaks and lyrics that paint an evocative picture of the struggle to find sanity and salvation in a bruised but beautiful world. “But hey, what can I say? I’m a desperate man,” Church sings.
“It’s been a while; I just want to say I have missed you,” Church said, addressing fans in the video. “I have good news…the album is done, and we are back. It’s called Desperate Man and the first single is called ‘Desperate Man,’ with the Choir having access to listen first through their login today.”
Desperate Man, produced by Jay Joyce, will be released for free to members of Church’s fan club. Signing off, Church says, “I look forward to seeing you on the road.”
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In an interview with Rolling Stone for an upcoming feature, Church talked about the genesis of the album’s title track and how the October 2017 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, where he performed a few days prior, affected his creativity in the studio.
“I was a little lost for a while. I think like a lot of people I was in a little bit of a funk after something like that,” he says. “I was still a little burned out. A little bit going through the motions. I think that’s part of what happened when I first went into the studio, is I still wasn’t quite ready to get there.
“That’s where ‘Desperate Man’ kind of came from,” he continues. “I wrote that in the studio. I got a little bit desperate in there to just find an album, because it was not fucking happening.”
[Reporting by Josh Eells.]