Publicists for new country ‘outlaw’ Eric Church have kicked damage control efforts into high gear following the recent publication of photographs depicting a clean-shaven Church attending the wedding of a close friend.
“I usd to luv Eric Church but its obvius fame has changed him,” wrote one fan on a CMT message board, pointing to Church’s lack of stubble as proof of an attitudinal shift that has made him more willing to kowtow to industry demands.
“Absence of unimpeachably masculine, devil-may-care stubble notwithstanding, we just wanted to reassure fans that Eric Church is neither a choir boy nor a homosexual,” said Lily Masters of Nashville Newswire PR. “We can also confirm that he hasn’t shaved in the four days since the photographs were taken, so his stubble is already back to acceptably unkempt levels as we speak, and fans should expect more of the same going forward.”
Its embrace of questionable facial hair has long made country music the genre of choice for men equally incapable of shaving daily and growing a beard beyond that which might be sported by a barely-pubescent high school sophomore. Baby-faced Joe Nichols and ultra-beardy Jamey Johnson are exceptions to the rule proven by a slew of prickly posers that includes Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, Billy Currington, and Josh Thompson.
By his own admission, Church is a cut above the others. “While he appreciates his fans, Eric asked us to reiterate that he ‘doesn’t really give an eff’ – his words, not mine – what anyone thinks about him, his music, or the puny layer of scruff he calls a beard,” said Masters. “So obviously, he’s the biggest outlaw of them all.”
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