When Eric Church dropped his album Mr. Misunderstood in November of 2015 it was a complete and total surprise to his fans. The “Record Year” singer did no promotion leading up to it and zero promotion afterwards. The singer wanted his fan club ( the “Church Choir”) to have it first and then the rest of the world, including country radio, could listen to it then.
Recording and releasing an album under the noses of the media and your record label is no easy task. Church had to record under an alias at the studio and label the vinyl records that shipped to radio “Christmas Albums” so they wouldn’t be opened until folks were aware the album was out.
There was one person that could have let the cat out of the bag, John Osborne from the band The Brothers Osborne. It seems he was also recording at the same studio and went back to retrieve an item he left behind and stumbled upon the sneaky Church and his recording team.
“I’ll never forget — John Osborne had been working with record producer Jay (Joyce), and he forgot something in the studio,” Church explained to Nashville Scene. “When Osborne returned to retrieve his lost item, he saw what was going on, and “John (Peets) had to spill it to him. The whole thing could have come unwound because of John Osborne.”
Even though the release went as planned and was a total surprise to the world, you really can’t say the same for the album itself.
Mr. Misunderstood was intended to be a duets album with Church singing with some of the greatest country music legends alive.
Church got inspired by hearing Willie Nelson‘s duets projects and had “an epiphany that some of those people aren’t going to be here forever,” explains John Peets, Church’s manager.
Peets soon noticed the material that Church was writing wouldn’t work for a duets album, it was too personal to Church.
“I said, ‘I don’t know what to tell you, you own those songs,’” Peets remembers. “He was very motivated by this urgency, and it just started to fall out. He wrote quicker than I’ve ever seen him write.”
Mr. Misunderstood would go on to win “Album of the Year” at the 2016 CMA Awards. You can listen to the title track of the album below:
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