by Marcus K. Dowling
During a performance at this week’s virtual Country Radio Seminar, Eric Church — the CMA Awards’ 2020 Entertainer of The Year award winner — performed his current single, “Hell of a View,” then shared how a personal tragedy in co-writer Casey Beathard’s life impacted the writing process.
“I wasn’t sure Casey would even be able to be a part of this,” Church said, concerning Beathard’s 22-year-old son, Clayton being one of two people killed in a stabbing incident outside a downtown Nashville bar in December 2019. “I’ve never seen anybody show the kind of strength and faith that Casey did. Even though there was so much tragedy, he was struggling with personally, he really channeled the motivation and the creativity to do his best work. And as a byproduct, so did I.”
The making of Church’s forthcoming triple-album Heart & Soul involved the star and his team embarking on a month-long writing and recording retreat to a restaurant-turned-makeshift recording studio in the North Carolina mountains.
About the recording process behind Heart & Soul, Church adds the following:
“I’ve always been intrigued when a song is born in a writer’s room – there is a magic that happens there. I wanted to put that in the studio form, he said. “So, every day, we would write a song in the morning and we would record the song that night.
“Doing it that way allowed for the songwriters to get involved in the studio process and the musicians to be involved in the creative process. You felt a little bit like you were secretly doing something that was special, and you knew it… You started going, ‘hmm, wait ’til the world finds out about this.’”