Remember When Eric Church Released ‘Chief’?

The 12-track project took the superstar’s career to the next level.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 26, 2023


2:18 pm

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Eric Church; Photo by Anthony D’Angio, Chief Courtesy Instagram

On this day in 2011, Eric Church released his third studio album, Chief

The project featured 12 tracks and took the North Carolina native’s career to new heights. 

Among the tracks included on the album are Church’s first two No. 1 hits on the country charts, “Drink In My Hand” and “Springsteen,” plus the Top 10 hits “Creepin’” and “Like Jesus Does” and the Top 20 release, “Homeboy.”

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When reflecting on the album in a conversation with his record label, Church explained the title and shared how it combined his road nickname with his grandfather’s title as the chief of police in Granite Falls, North Carolina. 

“Chief became my nickname on the road, really as a joke for the last couple years,” he explained at the time. “We have been playing a lot of little bars and clubs and honkytonks where the lights are about a foot from your face. And I wore contacts, where this all started, the initial inception was, my contacts would fall out, pop out on stage, and I would be blind for half the show, so I started wearing sunglasses, then I put on a hat to stop the sweat and it just became this thing.” 

Church said he tried to adjust his new on-stage look, consisting of the hat and sunglasses, as they made their way into bigger venues but it didn’t work out so well. 

Eric Church; Photo by Anthony D'Angio
Eric Church; Photo by Anthony D’Angio

“People in the crowds would have on hats and sunglasses and wouldn’t let me adjust that, so it just became this thing naturally. So, that was show time, it was kind of my uniform,” he said. “The band starting joking with me, when I put the hat and sunglasses on, they go ‘Alright, its Chief time, Chief’s here.’ But I laughed about it, it was a joke.” 

Unbeknownst to his band, the nickname Chief actually had a deeper meaning for Church. 

“The really cool part of the story, my grandpa was the chief of police in Granite Falls, North Carolina, and everybody called him Chief. Everybody, my dad called him chief as his son-in-law, so it was just very neat to me, that across generations, it became my nickname naturally and nobody knew about it being my grandpa’s nickname, nobody,” he pointed out. 

So, when it was time to name the album, Chuch didn’t have to think twice. 

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“When it came time to title the record, because it felt live, and because it was something I wanted to show — a part of the live show, Chief was the right title from my point of view, but also because of my grandfather and what he meant to me. And I just thought it was the right title, and you know it happened so naturally, it happened so not thought out,” he added. “When I said the title of the record, I had to explain to everyone why, you know. They were going, ‘What’s Chief?’ ‘Well, Chief’s a nickname.’ Then it became a cool thing when they heard about it being my grandfather’s nickname, too. It just felt like the perfect title to me.”

From that point on, Church became known as Chief and soon, he will bring that namesake to life with the opening of his very own Nashville bar, restaurant, and music venue, Chief’s

The highly-anticipated six-story project is set to open at 200 Broadway sometime in 2023. See a sneak peek inside HERE.    

Chief Track List:

1.“Creepin” (Eric Church, Marv Green)
2. “Drink In My Hand” (Eric Church, Michael P. Heeney, Luke Laird)
3. “Keep On” (Eric Church, Ryan Tyndell)
4. “Like Jesus Does” (Casey Beathard, Monty Criswell)
5. “Hungover & Hard Up” (Eric Church, Luke Laird)
6. “Homeboy” (Eric Church, Casey Beathard)
7. “Country Music Jesus” (Eric Church, Jeremy Spillman)
8. “Jack Daniels” (Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, Lynn Hutton)
9. “Springsteen” (Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, Ryan Tyndell)
10. “I’m Gettin’ Stoned” (Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, Casey Beathard, Jeremy Cradey)
11. “Over When It’s Over” (Eric Church, Luke Laird)

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.