Eric Church was one of the performers during this year's ACM Awards, taking the stage at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville to perform his new single "Stick That in Your Country Song." The performance began with Johnny Cash reciting his song "Ragged Old Flag" as Church and his band were shadowed on stage, an image of a tattered American flag on the screen behind them.
Wearing a leather jacket and his signature black Ray-Bans, Church quietly began the song by accompanying himself on guitar before his band was lit up on stage, screens and lights flashing red as the song kicked into its full gear and Church's voice rose in volume and urgency. The song is a rallying cry to Church's fellow artists to not shy away from touching on difficult topics in their music and discusses struggles in American cities like Detroit and Baltimore, veterans returning from war and underpaid teachers.
"Stick that in your country song / take that one to number one / get the world singing along / stick that in your country song," Church declares in the chorus. The song was written by Davis Naish and Jeffrey Steele back in 2015, though Church didn't get his hands on it until recently. "The greatest thing about 'Stick That In Your Country Song' is it really became almost a harbinger of things that were to come," he said in a statement, via iHeartRadio.
"We were in the mountains of North Carolina, this is January, this is before COVID, this is before social, racial unrest, riots, protests, and as real as the song was to me then, it became a hundred times more real as time continued to evolve," Church continued. "That's rare. I've only had that happen, maybe a time or two. And, it just felt like I was meant to cut the song and to sing the song, and that's the reason it's the first single. It felt like it was the right song for the right moment in time. And, I'm proud of the job we did on it."
The North Carolina native released "Stick That in Your Country Song" in June as the first single from his as-yet-untitled upcoming album, which will be the follow-up to 2018's Desperate Man. Just before the coronavirus pandemic began, Church spent time in a makeshift studio in the North Carolina mountains with several writers and his band, where he wrote and recorded a song every day.
"I would get up in the morning and write a song, and we would record the song that night," he told iHeartRadio. "We tried to go back and let creativity reign, and it is unequivocally my favorite music we've done."