Thomas Rhett Namechecks Eric Church’s “Sinners Like Me” In Sentimental New “Heaven Right Now”

I never thought I would say this but…I’m kind of like this new Thomas Rhett. At least, more than I used to…

Let’s take a quick back at the evolution we’ve seen from TR so far.

First, he debuted the heartfelt new song “To The Guys Who Date My Girls” back in 2019 that got the internet buzzing, hopeful that we might be seeing a return to the pre-2015 Thomas Rhett that we were missing.

Then he all but confirmed it with his next two releases, “What’s Your Country Song” and “Country Again,” which name-dropped Eric Church and sent out pretty big signals that this next album wasn’t going to be the “Look What God Gave Her” and “Get Me Some of That” side of Thomas Rhett that always left me reaching for the skip button.

Well Thomas Rhett finally dropped his latest album, Country Again (Side A), and our suspicions were correct. With its stripped-back production and meaningful lyrics, this entire album is a major shift from the Bruno Mars-style pop music that we’ve gotten from TR the past few years.

And I love it.

Thomas Rhett explained to The Tennessean a moment when it clicked that he was ready to get back to his country roots:

“I woke up one day and things just shifted. I don’t know how to explain that except for the fact that I remember one night I put my cowboy boots on for the first time to walk into a meet-and-greet and my band looked at me like I was a crazy person because I’d been wearing sneakers for the last four years on stage.”  

And he also discussed the reaction from Eric Church after hearing himself name-dropped in “Country Again.”

“[Church] was like, ‘Man, I just wanted to say congrats for writing the crap outta that song. That was one of the coolest compliments I’ve ever received.” 

Well, the album is definitely a return to his roots. Thomas Rhett has said in the past that he “wanted to be Eric Church” with his first album, and that his newest project goes back to “when I was listening to nothing but Eric Church.”

And the album definitely pays tribute to Eric Church, and not just in its style and sound, because “Country Again” isn’t the only song that name-drops to the Chief.

In “Heaven Right Now,” a sentimental ballad about wishing he could catch up with a friend who’s passed away, Thomas Rhett once again reminisces about listening to Eric Church with his old friend:

“They still ain’t paved that road
On lower Lickton Pike
I still look for your truck sometimes
At Sonic on Friday night
It still punch the dashboard hurts
Every time I hear Eric Church
Sing ‘Sinners Like Me’
I crank it up real loud
I wonder what you’re doing in heaven right now”

The song, written by Thomas Rhett with Ashley Gorley and Zach Crowell, is a tribute to a close friend of his and his wife, Lauren, who passed away in 2012. The song also mentions the bracelets made in their friend’s memory – bracelets that the couple still wear to this day.

I mean, that’s what country music is supposed to be, right?

Music that tells a story. Music that means something.

Music that I’m happy to hear Thomas Rhett making once again.

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