As it turns out, The Chief wasn’t always a bar-playing, honky tonkin’ hit maker.
From the looks of this throwback video to a high school aged-Eric, the roots of being Mr. Misunderstood run deep, but man this guy has always had incredible pipes.
Probably about 17 years old, high school Eric Church covered the socio-political anthem in that of Garth Brooks’ 1992 song, “We Shall Be Free,” a lament of the injustices present in the world, and righteous call for freedom.
Garth Brooks and songwriter Stephanie Davis teamed up to write the track as a response to the 1992 LA Riots, which Garth had experienced first-hand.
“The night the riots hit we watched it all on TV on the bus leaving LA. And as you drove out of LA you could see the buildings on fire. It was pretty scary for all of us, especially a bunch of guys from Oklahoma. Ya know this is intense out here.”
He goes into more detail in the linear notes from his The Hits album:
“‘We Shall Be Free’ is definitely and easily the most controversial song I have ever done. A song of love, a song of tolerance from someone who claims not to be a prophet but just an ordinary man.
I never thought there would be any problems with this song. Sometimes the roads we take do not turn out to be the roads we envisioned them to be. All I can say about ‘We Shall Be Free” is that I will stand by every line of this song as long as I live.
I am very proud of it. And I am very proud of Stephanie Davis, the writer. I hope you enjoy it and see it for what it was meant to be.”
Hell of a song choice for a teenage boy.
But nevertheless, ol’ Eric crushed it… note cards and all.