If you want a look into the soul of Brett Eldredge, all you need to do is take a look into the soul of Chicago.
Because while the country star with seven No. 1 hits grew up three hours from the Windy City and has called Nashville home for 13 years, Eldredge always seems to find that his heart and soul remains right here.
In recent years, Eldredge started having trouble finding that soul. So he took a personal and professional break from the rest of the world.
And in doing so, he created perhaps the album of his life.
Recorded entirely at Chicago’s Shirk Studios, “Sunday Drive” serves as Eldredge’s fifth studio album.
“I wanted to get out of the comfort zone of recording in Nashville and, frankly, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone when it came to my life,” Eldredgesaid during a recent interview from Nashville, where he’s quarantined. “Things were going fine, but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling any gratification anymore. I wanted to switch up everything in my life.”
So, utilizing a mixture of meditation, therapy and solitude along with a flip phone, a notebook and a guitar, Eldredge did just that.
“It was time to dive deeper,” said Eldredge, who proudly boasts of the fact that he has gone from an occasional jogger to a full-fledged marathon-worthy runner over the recent quarantine. “And then, I started to have some crazy ideas.”
First, he made the decision to work with Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, the Grammy-winning duo who made Kacey Musgrave’s “Golden Hour” what it was and two music visionaries who pushed Eldredge out of his creative comfort zone. Eldredge then planned a road trip in which he would take his small team to his small hometown of Paris, Illinois.
“It’s very interesting to see where someone comes from,” said Eldredge, hot on the heels of his new No. 1 single, “Love Someone.” “I mean, I had a lake in my backyard and a cornfield in my front yard. I took them there. There was an old courthouse that I took them to in the center of town, where we climbed the steps and I wrote my name on the wall. My aunt made dinner for them using the ingredients she found in her garden. In doing so, I showed them the person that I am and the music I wanted to make moving forward.”
And then it was time to drive to Chicago.
“We found this studio just outside of Wicker Park,” recalled Eldredge, who had a hand in writing a majority the most emotional tracks on “Sunday Drive.” “It was homey and intimate and, frankly, we were on top of each other in the same room, which meant we really needed to bring our A game. The first song we recorded was [current single] ‘Gabrielle,’ and we did the first take and we nailed it. It felt so good. It proved to me that when you stick to your gut, good things happen. It wasn’t a crazy idea after all.”
And the music represents that.
“Good Day” touches on finding the passion in the everyday. The title track “Sunday Drive” revisits the roots that are made watching the world go by from the backseat. And “Gabrielle” recalls a love from the past, showcasing the depths to which Eldredge will go now to show his authentic self.
“I don’t ever want to not be my full self again,” said Eldredge, who will release “Sunday Drive” on July 10. “Maybe its just part of growing up, but I had to take the time to find out who I really am and I really don’t care if someone doesn’t think that person is good enough. I’ve realized that people love you for who you are and not who you are always trying to be.”
“I still don’t have it all figured out,” he admitted. “I actually don’t ever want to figure it all out. I just want to continue making strides towards finding who I really am.”