How Eric Church Was Inspired to Write ‘Leave My Willie Alone’ After Getting Arrested

by Allison Hambrick

Country singer Eric Church realized that sometimes the best stories come from real life after getting arrested. The musician revealed that “Leave My Willie Alone” came from a real-life breakup he went through during college.

“I had a girl in college…” Church explained at a concert. “This particular girl, and I’m from North Carolina and where I’m from whatcha call this particular girl, it rhymes with ‘witch’ pretty much. This is a true story and when she left me and went through my record collection. She pulled out five records in the entire collection… and three of them were Willie Nelson records. It just pissed me off.”

Church then explained how trying to get his records back led to him getting arrested.

“She never answered her phone when I called for some reason,” he continued. “That led to the whole thing about me getting arrested for stalking her… Some cop said knocking a window out at 2am is stalking. So I wrote this song, I decided ‘you know what, this is a great song, I’m gonna make money off this.’”

After the “he said, she said,” Church recorded and released the song in 2009. It appeared on the album Carolina, which was well-received. Carolina also yielded Church’s first top ten hit, “Love Your Love the Most.”

For his part, Nelson also praised Church. When asked if there are any younger artists he enjoys, the country legend said: “Eric Church is someone who’s really talented.”

Eric Church Talks Love of Performing

For Church, the real high of being a musician comes from live performances. When the covid-19 pandemic started, the singer revealed that he feared not being able to play again.

“I remember one night after about 20 or 25 garage beers, and I thought ‘maybe I’m done,'” Church opened up at a recent concert. “‘Maybe I’ll never get to do this again.’ And you know what I dreamed about? I dreamed about—I didn’t dream about songs. I didn’t dream about cities, I dreamed about this right here. Everybody shoulder to shoulder, beside each other, normal again. “

Church’s tour has been, thus far, an immense success. He performed several sold out tour dates. The singer even threw in some fun surprises for fans. At a St. Louis show, Church performed two tracks by Nelly, shocking and delighting fans. The songs include two of the rapper’s biggest hits: “Ride Wit Me” and “Country Grammar.”

Church also sang a few other covers. Notably, he added Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” to his setlist. It’s safe to say he isn’t changing genres, but why not add a few treats for fans who see him live?

“We are meant to gather, we’re meant to sing, we’re meant to drink and fellowship, and that’s what tonight’s about,” Church said.

Outsider.com