Eric Church warmed up fans of Alabama and Clemson prior to the National Championship game between the two football teams in Arizona last night with a performance of “Record Year.”
The song is a standout of Church’s latest album, the surprise November release Mr. Misunderstood, and makes the case for losing oneself in music to get over a break-up. Specifically, it’s the warmth of vinyl albums, as Church sings about “counting on the needle to save me.” It’s a particularly timely sentiment, as Amazon recently reported turntables as their top-selling home-audio device during the holidays.
Here, Church leans heavily on the vinyl allusions: firing up the turntable, flipping over the record, dropping the needle. And the double-meaning of the title only reinforces the theme. Onstage in Glendale, Arizona, at the game’s official tailgate party, Church and his band roll through “Record Year” with purpose, lingering over the name-checks of iconic albums Songs in the Key of Life and Red Headed Stranger and offering a musical history lesson to a sea of rowdy college-football fans.
The performance marked Church’s last scheduled appearance in the U.S. before a February-March tour of Europe with Andrew Combs.
As for the National Championship game, Alabama topped Clemson, 45-40.