Rhiannon Giddens, who this week was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music, sings backup on the studio version of “Kill a Word,” Eric Church’s latest single from Mr. Misunderstood. But last night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, she took center stage with Church for a dazzling performance of the anti-hate anthem.
Clearly bolstered by Giddens’ contribution, Church delivered an especially determined reading of “Kill a Word,” a song that he chose to release during a contentious presidential election.
“If you would have asked me two months ago, I don’t know that I would have said that’s the next single. But there are times I believe that sometimes the single gets chosen for you. And by that I mean what’s happening in the world,” Church told Rolling Stone Country recently. “I’ve never had a song that felt more meaningful and relevant than this one.”
Written by Church with Jeff Hyde and Luke Dick, “Kill a Word” is the third single off Mr. Misunderstood, following the Number One hit “Record Year.” Along with Giddens, the album version features Andrea Davidson on vocals.
“I would have regretted not putting out ‘Kill a Word,’ and let this season pass, not knowing if I would get a chance again where it was this relevant, this timely,” Church says. “With this song, it’s a good time to bring it to the forefront. And whatever happens with it, happens. I just think it’s time for the world to hear it.”
Church, who is nominated for five CMA Awards at the November ceremony, will launch his Holdin’ My Own Tour on January 13th in Lincoln, Nebraska. The ambitious trek forgoes opening acts, with Church performing two full sets.