Eric Church slips one in on Icehouse Wong


Modern country music has become a repugnant, stagnant pond. Almost everything
that comes out of Nashville seems to be the most contrived mess I’ve ever turned
ear to. And you know the heart of the problem? It’s the fact that every song is
writtten by some tin-pan alley scientist that has dissected music itself to
create the most infectious, tepid, meaningless pop songs that invariably become
hits because that was how it was designed. It’s a money game. The music is
pandering to the audience, playing them for suckers with lyrics about tractors
and fried chicken and America. Every single new song seems to just be a silly
amalgam of buzzwords.

Now, I spend my time at the hill where my uncle lives, underneath a clearing of
pecan trees. Those trees are where we all gather ’round in the summertime to
party and barbecue, so music is a constant. One of the regulars, my good friend
Brad, often blasts music from his truck, mostly old country kings like Willie
and Hank, Jr. and Merle, but one day he brought a new one out on us. It was Eric
Church’s Carolina; Brad had bought the song for its breakout single, the party
anthem, “Smoke a Little Smoke”, which he would literally put on repeat and
listen to it seven times in a row.

The album went far beyond my expectations of silly CMT fluff, though the slick
production reeked of Nashville. It’s actually not awful, comparatively. “Smoke a
Little Smoke” is a rockin’ hit, full of reckless abandon and full of a yearn for
freedom. For me, though, the real shocker was the introspective love ballad,
“You Make It Look So Easy”. In the modern realm of CMT love ballads full of
banal lyrics with the word “love” sprinkled here and there, this song stands
out. It’s deeply self-searching, and one of the most poignant ballads Country
has seen in ages.

Honestly, in the pantheon of country music legends, Eric Church doesn’t really
stack up. What matters about his album, Carolina, is that it’s the first piece
of real, personal and revealing songwriting that has graced Nashville in an
interminable amount of time. It’s truly worth a listen, if just for the breath
of fresh air.
Icehouse Wong

3 thoughts on “Eric Church slips one in on Icehouse Wong

  1. Zac Brown slipped one in on me with “Chicken Fried”. Let’s bring it down a notch for the troops.

  2. Lost me on that one too Hayseed! Maybe you are one of those that don’t get what he is saying, hence the sorry Ass music that parades around as country music!

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