As fans finally get their hands on Eric Church's brand-new studio album, Desperate Man, on Friday (Oct. 5), they can also get a little bit of insight into the inspiration behind the album thanks to a playlist curated by the country star. Readers can press play below to listen.

After Church revealed in a lengthy July interview with Rolling Stone that he underwent major surgery in mid-2017 to remove a blood clot caused by a birth defect, the country star explains that the health scare -- combined with the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas in October of 2017 -- led him to take a bit of a break before releasing new music. "I still felt shook up pretty good," Church says in a press release. "I wasn't ready yet, wasn't settled from all that happened -- I was still reeling from Vegas, I felt displaced and not really connected to anything. I had to get back to enjoying what we were making and finding refuge in the music as a bit of an anchor."

As his playlist shows, Church delved back into the classics that made him fall in love with music in the first place. Listeners will find country legends such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson in the mix; however, the singer's trademark, Southern-flavored rock edge is well represented too, thanks to contributions from Don McLean, Bob Seger, James Taylor and the Drive-By Truckers.

Several of the songs on this playlist -- such as McLean's "American Pie" and the Truckers' "Let There Be Rock" -- touch on cultural, if not overtly political themes, which makes sense: Some of the songs on Desperate Man, such as "The Snake," offer their own form of social commentary. "Rattlesnake, copperhead / Either one of them kill you dead / We stay hungry, they get fed ... And the whole world’s burning down,” Church sings on that track.

"The rattlesnake and the copperhead -- that's left/right, blue/red, however you say it," Church says of the song. "They sit there and fight all day to rile people up and then go get a drink. They're working together while the whole world is burning down."

Church's fans will be familiar with the songs on the playlist below if they've caught his monthly Outsiders Radio show on SiriusXM's The Highway channel. For more information on Church's new album and his upcoming tour dates, head to

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