Chief by Eric Church

Eric Church’s latest offering can be nearly summed up in five words: “broken relationships,” “Jesus,” “whiskey” and “weed.” On the disc, he portrays a man who chooses to hide from the mirror and live in the glass in “Creepin’,” lose himself in cocaine after an ex-lover gets a rock on her finger in “I’m Gettin’ Stoned,” drown himself in whiskey on “Jack Daniels,” and a man who longs for a long-haired prophet preaching from the book of Johnny Cash on the gospel-tinged “Country Music Jesus.”

Despite his songs about the harder side of life, Eric strives for balance with the hip-hop-influenced warning “Homeboy,” as he pleads with a wayward brother to come on home, boy. The album contains a few moments of emotional levity; “Like Jesus Does” is a thematic update on Waylon Jennings’ “Good Hearted Woman,” praising a lady who sticks by her roving man’s side, while Bruce Springsteen’s rock tunes bring back summer memories on “Springsteen.” Joanna Cotton joins in on the album closer, “Over When It’s Over.”

A happy album this isn’t, overall, though Eric plays his role convincingly.

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