Kill a Word

Album: Mr. Misunderstood (2015)
Charted: 71

Songfacts®:

  • This anti-hate ballad is all about the power of words, both to heal and to harm. Church penned the tune with his guitarist Jeff Hyde and singer-songwriter Luke Dick. He told Rolling Stone:

    "There's just something so common sense about it, about the way you treat people and the way you talk to people and the things you say. There's a line in the chorus, maybe my favorite part of the song, about [the saying] 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,' which to me is not true. With bullying and all the stuff going on, words are very important. Words can be more hurtful than anything physically. I got little kids, and it's common sense when you're raising them that the main thing is how you talk to people, and how you treat people. Sometimes I think the world forgets that as we get older."
  • This was released as a single in August 2016. Church told Rolling Stone the song's message is especially relevant at a time when the country is consumed by violence. "It's a pretty charged-up time right now. At the end of the day, we all have to get along. I don't care what your belief is – we can't kill each other. It can't happen that way," he said. "There's a lot of racial tension in this country, a lot of authoritative tension with police, and I think all that stuff makes for a tumultuous time."
  • "Kill a Word" features additional vocals by two songstress, Kentuckian singer-songwriter Andrea Davidson, and Church's fellow North Carolinian, Rhiannon Giddens, who is the lead singer of the old time string band Carolina Chocolate Drops.
  • Eric Church performed the song with Rhiannon Giddens at the 2016 CMA Awards. He told reporters that the contribution of his fellow North Carolinian is key.

    "With Rhiannon, I was a big fan of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, first of all. And for her to be able to stand up there and be able to put emotion on it is the big thing. She feels it. It's coming from here and not here…" Church said, pointing to his heart and his head. "I was honored to share the stage with her."
  • Eric Church took home Album of the Year at the 2016 CMA Awards for Mr. Misunderstood.
  • The song's genesis was a title, "If I Could Kill One Word," that Luke Dick came up with. He was unsure what to do with it, but once he switched "one" to "a" the title became something that he could wrap his head around.

    Dick was able to expand on his idea. He recalled to The Tennessean that he convened one day with Jeff Hyde for one of their fortnightly songwriting sessions. He played Hyde what he had on his 12-string guitar, which was the first verse with the refrain, "If I could only kill a word." His songwriting partner responded: "That's that's pretty unique... dang, that's really outside the box."

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