The last two years have been really, I mean really, good to Eric Church. He went from a low-level opener to headlining superstar virtually over night. On the heels of success with album Chief, he releases a 17 song live album, Caught In The Act. It was recorded in Chattanooga, Tennessee during his Blood, Sweat, and Beers tour. I was lucky enough to catch his live show in Kansas City and loved every single second. It was full of energy and packed a big punch. Could that be translated in a live album?
YOU BET! "I like my country rocking," Church sings in "How `Bout You?" as a hard-rock guitar solo ricochets off the pounding drums (listen for it at 3:14) as he interacts with the crowd. He constantly encourages his rowdy audience, exhorting them to howl the chorus of "Drink in My Hand" and "Jack Daniels."
He has seriously perfected the act of giving everything he's got at every show. Every performance that I've seen of him (and I've seen three) proves it. Just listen to "Smoke A Little Smoke" and you'll understand what I mean. Listen for the twist at the end that will get you rocking! Yeah, he's got a lot of attitude and toughness, but he can also be thoughtful and sincere. A standout track for me is the acoustic "Sinners Like Me." No effects or distractions, just a man and his guitar. The range of emotions that he can hit with his songs is what sets him apart.
Another standout for me and fan favorite is "Pledge Allegiance To The Hag" from his debut album. The live version has so much grit and is really cool. Another fan favorite is "These Boots." It is customary for fans to raise a boot above their heads while he sings this song. He signed a boot during the show that I saw. Just imagine a sea of cowboy boots in the audience as he's singing. That's a connection you just don't get on the studio version.
The album wraps up nicely with a nine minute rock jam of "Springsteen." He samples "Born To Run" in the middle and connects with the audience when he talks about making memories that coincide with certain melodies. That's what this album is all about.
Altogether, "Caught in the Act" is a perfect showcase for Church's songs. If you are a new Eric Church fan or have never been to a show, pick this album up to see what it's all about. And if you've seen a show or you're a member of The Church Choir like me, pick it up and relive your evening with Eric Church and the melodies that made a million memories.