Eric Church is one of country music's most beloved stars, and he's built his incredible success by working outside the system.

Church has always been a country music outsider. Nothing about his career has been conducted according to the usual rules that apply to country stars; from his earliest days in Nashville, Church has always sought to defy the normal conventions of the business and done things exactly as he pleases — an approach that endears him all the more to his legions of fans.

He's become a superstar in no small part due to his celebrated live shows, and Church will up the ante with his upcoming Holdin' My Own Tour, which kicks off in January of 2017 and is slated to run through May, wrapping up with a two-night stand in Nashville. The tour will feature no opening act, just Church and his band performing two sets, with an intermission. Tickets for some dates are already on sale, with more shows available on Sept. 30. Visit Church’s Holdin’ My Own Tour page for more information and to find out when tickets are available for a show in your area.

Read on to see the top reasons Eric Church is country music's best outlaw.

  • 5

    He Looks Cool

    Church has an edgy, dark look about him, giving him an air of mystery and danger that makes him country's coolest star. His trademark aviator shades give him an inscrutable quality that really sets him apart from anyone else in country music.

    Rick Diamond, Getty Images
  • 4

    His Songs Aren't Commercial

    Eric Church is one of the most well-respected songwriters in country music today, and he's scored many of his biggest hits with songs that are not really geared toward commercial country radio. Songs like "Creepin'," "The Outsiders," "Springsteen," "Smoke a Little Smoke" and "Mr. Misunderstood" would be relegated to album tracks on any other artist's projects, if they even cut them at all.

  • 3

    He Doesn't Play the Game

    Church is used to having to fight the business itself in order to give his fans the music he wants to, the way he wants to. Early on in his career, he was fired from a Rascal Flatts tour for repeatedly playing over his allotted time, and after feeling his label was wrong about picking his first few singles, Church has always weighed in since then. He fights hard so that his fans get the best seats at his shows, too; Church and his management have a system in place to track scalpers, and it's not unusual for him to cancel those orders and out those tickets back on sale at fair prices for his fans.

    Rick Diamond, Getty Images
  • 2

    He Plays for His Fans

    Church makes no apology that he aims everything that he does at his fans first, not country radio or the media. It's why he fights scalpers, it's why he releases the songs that he does, and it's why he dropped his most recent album, Mr. Misunderstood, as a surprise and mailed copies to his loyal fan club members before anyone else could purchase it. That kind of fan cred has been crucial in building his success.

    Rick Diamond
  • 1

    His Live Shows Are Epic

    Simply put, Eric Church's live concerts are unlike anything else in country music. Church is committed to making each live show a one-of-a-kind experience for his fans, and that means working extra hard to rotate songs in and out of his set lists, and peppering each show with special musical moments that will only happen once. He even performed a solo acoustic show in Boston instead of cancelling his gig after almost everyone on his tour got too sick to go forward. Only a maverick like Church could even hope to pull off something like that.