Church's songs are as straightforward as he is. His is music that looks its listener in the eye and speaks plainly about the human condition. It is a line that passes through Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings to John Prine and Steve Earle, and is finding a handful of torchbearers in this new century.
"Honesty is my number one responsibility," Church says. "If you listen to this, you'll find out who I am."
Church grew up in Granite Falls, North Carolina, in an area known as one of the world's furniture capitals. He recalls being four...