Eric Church Going In A Different Direction With 'Chief' Follow Up

(Radio.com) "It's different." That's the word from Eric Church on the musical direction he's heading on his next album, the follow-up to his platinum-selling, ACM Award-winning Chief, which he released two years ago.

Radio.com spoke with Church earlier this month in Chicago, before his set at the massive music festival Lollapalooza, where he was the only mainstream country act on the roster this year.

Church talked about his upcoming album, which he's still in the midst of writing. He also described his experience touring this summer with Kenny Chesney, his deep admiration for the work and career of Bruce Springsteen (whom he name-checked in the title of his best-known No. 1 hit), and what it was like facing disinterested patrons in a nearly empty nightclubs when he was an up-and-coming artist.

Radio.com: You've been busy this summer as part of Kenny Chesney's No Shoes Nation Tour. How has that experience been for you?

Eric Church: It's awesome. When I went into it, I didn't know what to expect from the standpoint of being stadiums. I was a little apprehensive about it. But it's the most fun I've ever had on tour. Especially touring with someone else. I got to know Kenny, and I love Kenny. It's a party. Going into it, I didn't know how much of an event it was. It is an absolute bedlam insane experience, and something I'm going to miss.

Radio.com: Your song "Springsteen" has been universally praised. Have you had much contact with the man himself?

Eric Church: No. And I'm kind of scared of it. I'm a huge fan, I guess I'm intimidated. We're going to hook up at some point, we've had a couple conversations. I love the way he does everything about his career. Where he came from, I relate to. I relate to the stance he takes on his music. The authenticity is something that really appeals to me. Big fan.

Radio.com: How did "Springsteen" originate?

Eric Church: For me, there's a line in that song about a melody and a memory connecting with each other. And I had that happen when I was a young man. It was my first amphitheater experience, where you're not with the parents anymore. That night, I had an experience to a song that I'll never forget. It was 20 years ago, and every time I hear that song, I'm right back in that moment. And that in a nutshell is what this song is about. I think everybody at some point in time has had that experience, where, when they hear that song later in life, they recall that memory, they recall that feeling. And I think that's why so many people relate to that song.

Radio.com: Are you writing new material? Can you talk about where you are in the process?

Eric Church: I'm writing, I'm working on it. It's a long process for me. There will not be a record this year, not going to happen. But…hope there's one next year. When it's ready, it's ready. The only thing I've ever promised is, we're going to dot every 'I' and cross every 'T.' It will be what I feel creatively it needs to be, or we won't put it out. I'm not interested in putting out a record so that a label can sell a record — or that we can sell a ticket. I'm not interested in other things affecting the music. It's got to be for the music's sake.

Radio.com: Does your new material sound like Chief?

Eric Church: No. It's different. And I don't know how people are going to judge it, that's up to the people to decide, but no, it's different.

Read more and find out what he felt about playing Metallica's Orion Fest and more here.

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