Eric Church Reveals the Story Behind His Iconic ‘Chief’ Album Cover

by Shelby Scott

2020 CMA Entertainer of the Year Eric Church revealed the story behind the iconic Chief album cover. No fluff, no drama, just basic facts of truth. According to the country star’s Twitter account, the photoshoot featuring this particular album cover was intended for Busch Light.

The “Chief” album released in July of 2011. Now in 2021, just about 10 years later, that particular album cover has stamped Church’s brand for the majority of his career. For Church fans to actually see photos of the country star without sunglasses especially is always a surprise. In a previous interview, Church shared that these attire choices allow him to be a completely different person onstage. If you’re curious, you can click here to see the Chief without his signature look. Church’s Twitter post goes on to explain how the photoshoot came to be in the first place.

At the time, the singer’s producer, John Peets, wanted to test out his new 200mm camera lens. While the photos were intended for Busch Light, the pair knew this would be the photo to use for the 2011 Chief album. Nevertheless, their choice was met with controversy as both Church’s eyes and face were covered by the hat and sunglasses.

While some may argue that the artist’s covered faced intuned a lack of honesty, this was untrue in Church’s case. Country music prides itself on honesty and ingenuity, and his attire in the photo literally symbolizes “Eric Church.” Since then, it has remained at the forefront of his brand.

Why Does Eric Church Wear a Hat and Sunglasses Onstage Anyway?

Church’s stage attire to this day is an intentional decision. That’s despite whether or not the Chief album photoshoot was intentional. It’s also one that has followed him throughout his professional career. Although the country star has created quite the fanbase for himself since his 2006 debut album, Sinners Like Me, Church had been creating a name for himself playing in bars in his home state of North Carolina even earlier. The artist told Country Weekly in a 2011 interview that his onstage attire was “all about functionality.”

Church’s eyes always wound up “baking” since he and his bandmates were playing in various bars with relentless fans. During that interview, he said that his contact lenses would actually pop out each night due to the relentless fans. Therefore, the hat and sunglasses were a deliberate choice in making Church’s performances as enjoyable as possible.

As one of country music’s most “mysterious” artists, he nevertheless seems willing to share his intentions behind personal decisions and stories. These include his iconic album cover, his nickname, and his signature look. Stick with us to explore more Eric Church stories about the artist’s career milestones and successes.