September 22, 2021

Outsiders Radio: Episode #79

AIR DATE: September 2021


ERIC: Hey everybody, it’s Eric Church back for the seventy-ninth episode of “Outsiders Radio.”  Here we are, two years after the final show of the Double Down Tour, and we are “on the road again!”


Willie knows what it’s all about.  “The life I love is making music with my friends, and I can’t wait to get on the road again.”  He’s not the only one who feels that way.  In fact Willie wasn’t the first one to have a song with that title.  THIS one goes back over 50 years.

That’s Canned Heat with a song they performed at Woodstock back in 1969: On The Road Again.  A lot of musicians have recorded songs about life on the road, and we’ll spotlight a FEW of them this week on Outsiders Radio.  About 30 years ago, Lee Roy Parnell wrote a song about his life as a traveling musician.  Lee Roy says he never finished school.  Instead he’s a Road Scholar.

A lot of us can identify with the words in that song.  A couple years after Road Scholar, Lee Roy Parnell put out ANOTHER road song, inspired by the movie Thelma & Louise.  It was a DIFFERENT kind of road trip.

As you can tell by now, we’re pretty happy about being back “on the road.”  I’m Eric Church, and this is Outsiders Radio.  We kicked off our 2021 Gather Again tour last week in Lexington Kentucky.  The Church Choir was there in full force.

Fans: The last time I saw Eric would have been the Holdin’ My Own tour in Louisville Kentucky. I try to see Eric every time he comes to Kentucky, whether it be Louisville or Lexington, and sometimes I travel to Indianapolis or Nashville.  But I really enjoy his shows, this is probably my tenth Eric Church show. So looking forward to it, I’m excited he picked Kentucky for his first show. I’m excited that concerts are back. We’ll be in the pit rockin’ and partying all night. Hopefully he’ll play til they kick him off stage (laughs)

It was a late one, that’s for sure.  I think we went past curfew, whatever that is.  The whole night began with my tribute to the fans.

The view was pretty good through my Ray Bans, opening night of the Gather Again tour in Lexington.  Not everyone could wait for that show.  These fans traveled to a casino show I did back in June.

Fan:Durant Oklahoma, Durant yes, Choctaw Casino, we were all there in June, we all traveled, first show back. It was a long day. They were in line at 2 in the morning.  It was an awesome show though. Awesome show.

Those folks were at the front of the line in Lexington, so you know they’re hard core fans.  The people at the front of the line are also the first ones in the pit.

Fan: The pit this year is pretty interesting, because there’s two different sides of the pit, there’s a Soul pit and a Heart pit. And you also have seats in the middle.  So Eric’s gonna play in the middle of the arena, and if you’re lucky, you might be in the Soul pit or you might be in the heart pit.  So there’s two different pits, one on the right side of the stage, one on the left side of the stage. So don’t freak out if you have one or the other. I’m sure he’s gonna make sure everybody gets to see the show and everybody has a damned good time that’s for sure.  I’m in the Heart pit.  That was by choice, something said pick the heart pit, so that’s what we went with when we bought the tickets. We’re looking forward to it, we’ve been out here quite a while, it’s pretty hot, we even got rained on briefly, which is OK, cause it’s worth it.

We’re looking back at opening night of the Gather Again tour in Lexington Kentucky.  The return to the road means the return of something we call the Church Choir Games.  Here to explain what’s involved is Matt Wheeler.

Matt: What we like to do over the last couple tours is try to get the fans involved as much as possible.  So we’ve developed a traveling pop up store that sets up in every single city. We make the merchandise available during the day, there are things that are exclusive to that store, and give fans a different experience than what they’d deal with inside the arena. Paired with that, usually at about 2PM, we gather several members of the Church Choir, the fan club, and as a way to interact with them, we challenge them to a game.  This tour, we’re playing putt-putt golf.  It’s a fairly simple game, and the fans seem to love it, and today was a really good kick-off.

We’re doing a lot of the new songs on tour this year.  We have 24 new songs to play for you, and we’ll work them in among the songs you know.  By the way, the band you hear on the record is the same band you’ll see at my show.   We started this week’s radio show with songs about being on the road, and here’s one from ANOTHER “king of the road:” Dierks Bentley.


We get a lot of those Highway 40 Blues as we travel in and out of Nashville.  Our theme this week is road songs.  Being on the road for us is a lot of fun.  But when you’re just starting out, it can be a lot of work.  Bob Seger captured that experience in THIS classic hit from 1972.


We’ve done that one a few times on the road ourselves.  As we wrap things up, we really hope you’ll come see us on the Gather Again tour.  We’ll continue through the end of this year and then pick it up again in 2022.  BEFORE the tour began, we made a special appearance in Nashville.  Our friend Ashley McBryde was playing a three night stand at the Ryman Auditorium.  We showed up on the first night, and joined her for THIS classic.  I’m Eric Church, see you next time on Outsiders Radio.