Desperate Man

Album: Desperate Man (2018)
Charted: 68

Songfacts®:

  • On Sunday, October 1, 2018 a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, while Jason Aldean was on stage. Fifty-eight people were killed, making it the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the United States. Eric Church had performed at the festival earlier in the weekend; he told Rolling Stone that the tragedy affected his creative process, blocking him up creatively while trying to write songs for his sixth album.

    "I was a little lost for a while. I think, like a lot of people, I was in a little bit of a funk after something like that," he said. "I was still a little burned out. A little bit going through the motions. I think that's part of what happened when I first went into the studio, is I still wasn't quite ready to get there."

    Here, a heartbroken Church sings about trying to find his way since his lover left him. He is a desperate man and will try anything.

    I've seen the Joshua Tree
    Got down on my knees
    Threw the Virgin Mother a prayer
    I've walked glass barefooted
    Strolled 'cross the devil's hot coal
    I've tried everything, I swear
  • Church wrote the song in the studio with Texas musician Ray Wylie Hubbard, who he name-checked in "Mr. Misunderstood" as he attempted to break through his writer's block. "I got a little bit desperate in there to just find an album," he said, "because it was not f---ing happening."
  • The cinematic and high-flying video directed by Reid Long and John Peets finds Church on a mission to obtain his music before the record label decides to distribute it. Ray Wylie Hubbard, who co-wrote "Desperate Man" with Church, guests in the video.

    "Excitement for new music from my favorite artists is a feeling I can remember from my formative years. The unknown and the possibilities of the anticipation are one of the true joys of music," said Church. "Well, even though how we discover songs from our favorite performers may have evolved, the feeling remains the same."
  • Ray Wylie Hubbard explained to Taste of Country that the first verse starts off with Church being so desperate he goes to the Joshua Tree, "which is a metaphor for a holy place." There, he falls on his knees and he's done everything he can do, he's that desperate.

    In the last verse, Church visits the fortune teller who tells him "you got no future at all,'" but he replies, "I ain't listenin' to black-hearted gypsy." Hubbard said this shows how the singer is "desperate," but he's "still going to not roll over and curl up in a ball." Instead he's determined still "to try to move forward."

    Hubbard concluded: "Some of the lyrics are dark, but there's still a positive vibe about it. The music is almost a gospel, jubilee celebration where it just keeps driving you."
  • Eric Church had the title "Desperate Man" when he arrived at his session with Hubbard and he knew where he wanted to go with the song. Hubbard reacted to the idea by telling Church he once went to a fortune teller to get his future read, but she told him he didn't have a future. "That's pretty desperate," he added. They got the idea for the last verse from that comment.

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