January 10, 2022

Outsiders Radio Episode #78

AIR DATE: August 2021

SHOW THEME: Tour Preview/Hall of Fame

ERIC: Hey everybody, it’s Eric Church back for the seventy-eighth episode of “Outsiders Radio.”  Every time we do one of these means we’re one step closer to the start of the Gather Again tour….kickin’ off next month in Lexington KY.  We’ve spent the last few weeks in Pennsylvania rehearsing on the new stage.  We’re also doing a 3-day festival in Colorado next week that sounds pretty cool.  One of the headliners is Jimmy Buffett, so let’s play one for the parrot-heads out there.

I’m looking forward to playing a festival show in Colorado Labor Day weekend with Sheryl Crow.  It’s one of the shows we’re doing before kicking off the Gather Again tour in Lexington.  The whole band is ready to hit the stage.

Band: Oh please, let’s just go play, I wanna see a lotta people havin’ a lotta fun, screaming & yelling, hopefully not getting covid in the process, I miss it so much, and so I’m really looking forward to doing our show, and having everyone come out and have a great time. // We haven’t actually been on the new stage yet, but we’ve seen a mock up of it, and it’s really big, it’s a lotta ground to cover, so pick out some comfy shoes and get ready.// We always have some kind of pit vibe, where people can be right down there in the heat of the action, get the sweat & spit on them, so you might wanna get vaccinated people you get down there people.///This is really unique what we’re about to do, I’ve never seen anything like it. So it’ll be fun to figure it out, we always figure stuff out, and we always make it our own.

Everything about the Gather Again Tour will be new.  It’s a new stage, a new setlist with lots of new music from the new albums. Plus we have a new member in the band.  Meet our new keyboard player Billy Justineau:

Billy: For the last couple years I played with Brothers Osborne. Before that I played with an artist named Frankie Ballard. And played with a handful of artists, but those are the two steady gigs I’ve had over the last 7 years or so.

You’ll see Billy playing keyboards at our Gather Again shows. But unlike the rest of us, he won’t be running around on stage.

Billy: I love staying in one spot.  It’s one of my favorite parts of being the keyboard player, I have a tower of keyboards around me, I don’t move very far, some people are jealous of the guitar players who get into the crowd, I’m more of an introvert, so I like hanging in the back, me and my keys. I won’t have a key-tar on this gig.  I’m drawing a line in the sand, no key-tar.

Billy is all over Heart & Soul, but you can ALSO hear him on Skeletons, the new album by Brothers Osborne.

A couple of hits there from Brothers Osborne.  Our new keyboard player, Billy Justineau, worked with the Brothers.  But he joined us out in North Carolina during the making of Heart & Soul.  He has a few favorite moments during the album.

Billy: There’s a lot of B-3 in Stick That In Your Country Song. I really like the little moment in Doing Life With Me, it’s mostly a synth pad, but then at the end the piano comes in and lifts it a bit. Then there’s another tune called Crazyland, and that one is one of my favorites, I played a piano solo near the end of the track that I really like. Simple, nice & easy, definitely something to listen for.

We may slip those into the setlist when the Gather Again tour begins in just a few weeks.

I’m Eric Church and you’re listening to Outsiders Radio.  Every now and then we get to celebrate the heritage of country music when the CMA announces a few new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  That happened just about a week ago.  Reba McEntire made the announcement.

Reba: It’s my honor to announce the 2021 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees.  The first inductee has been a drummer for nearly 50 years.  To be inducted in the recording or touring musician category is the great Eddie Bayers.  Our next inductee in the recording or touring musician category is another first. Country music as the world knows it wouldn’t sound like country music without the pedal steel guitar. And the pedal steel guitar wouldn’t sound like pedal steel without Pete Drake. On to our next category: Veterans Era Artist.  The one, the only, the incredible Ray Charles. Last but not least, we have our Modern Era Artist Inductees: One of the most successful duos in country music history: The Judds.

So many cool things about this, starting with the fact that they’re inducting TWO musicians instead of just one, and BOTH are first time inductees for their respective instruments.  But then, it’s truly special to finally honor Ray Charles for his contributions to Country Music.  Speaking on his behalf is Valerie Ervin, president of the Ray Charles Foundation.

Valerie: Needless to say, Ray Charles loved country music. In fact he risked a lot in 1962 when he recorded Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music.  As the president of the Ray Charles foundation, I cannot express enough how happy & honored Ray Charles would be at this moment in time, as I am for him. Congratulations to all the fellow inductees, and as Ray Charles would say, ‘That’s so nice.’

From the groundbreaking album Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music, that’s the great Ray Charles. He was just announced as one of the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Joining Ray will be the mother-daughter duo: The Judds.

Judds: I don’t know what to say because it’s so crazy. (w) Well maybe I’ll say something. As a daughter, 20 years, it’s about damned time, that’s what everyone has said, including relatives.  As an artist it’s wonderful to be included in the family of country, and as a believe, I thank God for my gift, and as an American, it’s just wonderful to celebrate anything.  To show up an say thank you. (n) That’s right, we need that, don’t we? 

Congratulations to The Judds on becoming the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  They will be formally inducted at a special ceremony next year. 

As we wrap up this edition of Outsiders Radio, words can’t express how excited I am to be back on the road in just a few weeks.  It will be good to “gather again” with all of you.  Between then and now, I hope you’ll tune in for the CMA Summer Jam this Thursday night on ABC, where I’ll do THIS song from my latest album. I’m Eric Church, see you next time on Outsiders Radio.