Eric Church

Mr. Misunderstood on the Rocks Live & (Mostly) Unplugged

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An EP recorded during Eric Church's two-night stint at Red Rocks during August 2016, the six-track Mr. Misunderstood on the Rocks Live and (Mostly) Unplugged delivers what the title promises -- live recordings of songs from 2015's Mr. Misunderstood where Church is generally anchored on an acoustic. This doesn't mean he's alone: apart from "Knives of New Orleans" and a closing cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," which was recorded months before the songwriter's death, he's supported by his full band, most of them playing relatively softly if they're not playing acoustic instruments. "Mistress Named Music" gets expanded into a medley featuring a bunch of '70s singer/songwriter mainstays plus George Strait's "Troubadour" -- a quick and effective portrait of Church's roots -- and "Mixed Drinks About Feelings" is performed as a duet with backup singer Joanna Cotten, but the real reason the EP is worthwhile is the overall feel of the performances. Stripped back to their sinew, Church and his band sound stronger than they did on the overblown Caught in the Act, and just a year after their release, the songs are seeming like modern classics.

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