Blue Collar, Country Roots, and the Meaning Behind Eric Church’s Debut Single and First Charting Country Hit “How ‘Bout You”

Before breaking out with his solo debut Sinners Like Me in 2006, Eric Church was warming up, writing songs for country artists Terri Clark (“The World Needs a Drink”) and “Whiskey Wings” for Dean Miller in 2005. Soon after, he made his Grand Ole Opry debut in April of 2006, months before releasing Sinners Like Me, which drove him right into the Country charts.

The album, which also featured a duet with Merle Haggard on Church’s “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag,” was mostly co-written by Church and veteran songwriter Brett Beavers, including his debut single “How ‘Bout You,” also co-penned by Church’s brother Brandon.

“How ‘Bout You” was also Church’s first song to get onto the Country chart at No. 14, while his other Sinners Like Me singles “Guys Like Me” and “Two Pink Lines” kept him in the top 20.

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Blue Collar Salute

Hinting at more of the heartland rock Church would introduce later on, “How ‘Bout You” praises working-class roots—I ain’t got no blue-blood trust fund / I can dip into and some old-school country ideals: The scars on my knuckles / Match these scuffs on these cowboy boots.

I know where I come from
How ’bout you?
I don’t need baggy clothes
Or rings in my nose to be cool

The scars on my knuckles
Match these scuffs on these cowboy boots
And there’s a whole lot more like me
How ’bout you?

I punch the clock tryin’ to make it to the top
How ’bout you?
I ain’t got no blue-blood trust fund
I can dip into

Yeah, I wish Uncle Sam would give a damn
About the man whose collar’s blue
But if he don’t, hell, I’ll make it on my own
How ’bout you?

The Video

In the music video for “How ‘Bout You,” directed by Scott Speer, Church is seen holding a camera and directing the video. Throughout the video, he lets other passersby hold the camera, including bar patrons, a construction worker, and the audience he’s performing to on stage.

With the help of “How ‘Bout You” and other charting singles, Sinners Like Me was a breakthrough success for Church, hitting No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Albums chart and making its way into the top 40 of the 200 chart.

Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Stagecoach

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