Eric Church, "Homeboy"

Eric Church is a rarity: As a musician who built his fan base by playing rock clubs, the singer/ songwriter has never hidden his rock'n'roll sensibilities. But there's no doubt he's country to the core. His latest single, about two brothers who go their separate ways, does a fine job of bridging the gap between twang and tilt. The well-crafted tune employs the term "homeboy" in three distinct ways: first familiarly, then as an entreaty when the singer pursues his wayward brother to "come on home, boy," and finally, as a plea to his sibling to put his past behind him before his elderly parents are "called home, boy." The stellar song builds musically and thematically like a rock opera, and Church properly accentuates the epic journey that it documents.

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