Song was inspired by Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre
Eric Church has officially released “Through My Ray-Bans,” which is dedicated to the fans he played for at Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in October 2017, two days before 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, NV killed 58 people and injured hundreds that has become the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
Church delivers an especially poignant message in the absence of live shows. Written together with Luke Laird and Barry Dean, Church had those fans in mind on the day this song was born, as the trio of cowriters reflected on the event he had headlined just two nights before tragedy struck.
“I looked out there, at that crowd, in that place … I was so moved by it,” he said onstage at the Grand Ole Opry just days later, where he famously performed his reflective “Why Not Me.” “I saw them with their hands in the air. I saw them with boots in the air. And what I saw, that moment in time was frozen.”
That moment of camaraderie and passion that was preserved in Church’s memory now comes to life in the chorus of “Through My Ray Bans:” “Everybody’s got their arms around everybody else’s shoulders / Guarding against the world outside like an army of Friday night soldiers / The battle wages tomorrow but tonight you don’t give a damn / Wish you could stay the way I see you through my Ray-Bans.”
In addition to its powerful source of inspiration, the song also takes on new meaning as live shows have come to a halt. Church shared an initial sneak peek of “Through My Ray-Bans” earlier this year, as he offered a defiant spoken-word performance which proclaimed “I don’t believe in fear. I don’t believe in panic. I don’t believe, in all of its complexity, this damn virus has any idea what it’s up against: the American resolve, steeled by the world, steadied by faith, calmed by song, healed by prayer. Oh I believe; damn right I believe. I believe these halls will roar again. These stadiums will be deafening in the answer to this enemy. The silence of now will cower at the noise of soon … And I believe, I believe our best is yet to come. We shall rage. We shall roar. I cannot wait to see you again, through my Ray-Bans.”
“Through My Ray Bans” is the latest in a series of new music releases from Church, including single “Stick That In Your Country Song,” “Bad Mother Trucker,” “Crazyland” and “Hell Of A View,” which the Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year nominee will perform on the upcoming CMA Awards, broadcasting Wednesday, November 11th on ABC.
In addition to the official releases, Church has also shared previews of unreleased music with performances on ACM Presents: Our Country (“Never Break Heart”) and Stagecouch (“Jenny”).
The new music follows Church’s most recent critically acclaimed project, 2018’s Desperate Man, his sixth studio album which was named one of the year’s best by Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, Variety and Vulture, also earning a GRAMMY nod for Best Country Album (his third nomination in the category).
The new songs are a preview from a forthcoming project born from a sequestered session in rural North Carolina where he wrote and recorded a song per day for nearly a month.