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Chief by Eric Church
Released: Jul 2011
Track list of the year: Two "Jesus" callouts (including the amazing rapture fantasy "Country Music Jesus"), one tribute each for "Springsteen" and "Jack Daniels," and booze/hangover odes (plus "I'm Gettin' Stoned") filling out much of the rest. He's an I-fear-God-and-everyone-else-should-fear-me righteous hellraiser, this guy, louche and unapologetic and blessed with a third album that, as usual, sounds amazing: deft acoustic guitar wending throughout, rapturous power chords striking at odd angles, pulverizing drums ringing clear and pure as church bells. The piano on "Springsteen" kills.
Rob Harvilla