Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eric Church "Caught In The Act" Album Review

     Eric Church has completely blown up the past two years.  Eric went from low-level opener to headlining superstar virtually overnight.  To celebrate that huge jump, Eric has released Caught In The Act, a full length live album, recorded in Chattanooga, Tennessee during his Blood, Sweat, and Beers tour.  Eric’s live shows pack serious punch, but could that raw energy transfer to an album?

     You bet it does.  Eric delivers all of his usual familiar hits and fan favorites, but they pack a punch of energy and passion not heard often in today’s singers.  Eric has championed the act of giving it all he has every show.  You can feel the raw emotion in every song, whether it’s a hell raiser like “Creepin’” or a heartfelt tune like “Over When It’s Over”.  The wide range of emotions and topics Eric can hit with his songs really make him stand out.  When you realize he wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks, it becomes even more impressive.

     Some tracks particularly stand out.  His acoustic rendition of “Sinners Like Me” is fantastic.  Eric is all attitude and toughness, but he is equally thoughtful and sincere, and this song shows the soft side excellently.  No big distractions, no effects, just a man, a guitar, and his thoughts.  Great stuff.  “Pledge Allegiance To The Hag” is from Eric’s debut album, and although never released as a single, it is a fan favorite.  It’s done with so much more energy and grit on the live version, and it is very cool.  Similarly, “These Boots” is an album cut that never saw radio, but has developed a following.  It has become customary for fans to raise their cowboy boots above their head as Eric plays this at his shows.  Imagining the sea of boots and listening to the deafening roar of the crowd on this track is really something.  You can’t hear that connection on a studio version of a song.

    Of course, Eric’s rowdy songs are cranked up to 11 when done live.  “Country Music Jesus”, Creepin’”, and “Drink In My Hand” are full of power and energy.  Some older favorites like “How Bout You” and “Before She Does” really sound good as they are updated and contain a little more edge.  The album really comes together though with “Springsteen”.  Eric delivers a nine minute country-rock jam that shows what he is all about.  He samples “Born To Run” in the middle, and connects with the audience as he talks about making memories that coincide with certain melodies.  That is what this show and this album is all about.

    Caught In The Act is a great listen, front to back.  If you are a new Eric Church fan or have never seen a show, pick it up and become familiar with his songs and see what you’ve been missing at his live sets.  If you have been to a show, grab a copy and relive your evening with the Chief.  I’m sure these melodies will sound like a million memories.

Stand-out Tracks: “Sinners Like Me”, “These Boots”, “Pledge Allegiance To The Hag”, “Springsteen”

"Over When It's Over (Live from Caught In The Act)" Music Video

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