The Chief’s Mr. Misunderstoodwas released six years ago this week and there’s not a person on the planet that can look you in the eyes and say it doesn’t still hold up as one of the great all-time country albums.
It went to Number #2 on the US Billboard 200 and won CMA Album of the Year, but those metrics don’t come close to capturing what this album has grown to become.
From the commercial hits like the title track, “Round Here Buzz,” “Kill A Word” and of course “Record Year,” to fan favorite album cuts like “Mistress Named Music” (and the accompanying acoustic medleys at live shows), “Holdin’ My Own” and “Chattanooga Lucy,” this album both took Church to insane heights in the industry, and dug deeper into what makes his die hard fanbase love him, with various song styles and simply incredible songwriting.
But due to all the hype, there’s a track I feel never got the love it deserves.
“Knives Of New Orleans”
There are very few, if any, songs that can compare to what this is:
An epic adventure, escape, murder, love song with more sonic twists than lyrical ones and that says something.
“Tonight, a bleeding memory Is tomorrow’s guilty vein Your auburn hair on a faraway sea wall Screams across the Pontchartrain I’m haunted by headlights And a crescent city breeze One wrong turn on Bourbon Cuts like the knives of New Orleans”
From the first time I heard this song years ago I just absolutely fell in love, and it solidified why Eric Church is and always will be one of my favorite artists.
While it’s impossible to argue the songs that did get a ton of love from the record didn’t deserve it, I just wish this masterclass in storytelling was more universally known.