Eric Church believes in the power and longevity of country music, but he’s disappointed in the way the genre has developed lately, he says. According to the artist, country has a special place in the American conscience, but because of its growing and widespread popularity, it has gotten away from its roots.

“Country has become a bigger umbrella. It’s good and bad,” Church shares with the Las Vegas Sun. “Country has become too homogenized and too commercial. It has lost what makes it special. It’s great that it’s popular, but then it starts to become watered down.”

Church insists there’s a reason, though, that the genre continues to thrive when other genres ebb and flow.

“Country music is the song that speaks to the American condition. It’s middle America. Eight out of 10 people. Maybe it’s not the No. 1 choice, but they listen to country,” he explains. “Consistency, as well. In the 1980s, it was all about rock and roll, and it died. Guns N’ Roses is still on top because their throne hasn’t been challenged.”

The “Mr. Misunderstood” singer notes that one of his heroes still carries the torch for country music, though: George Strait.

“He is incredible — especially his longevity,” Church says. “He has stayed true to who he is as an artist. It is an incredibly difficult thing to do, and he has been able to do that. And he’s had more than 60 No. 1 songs — some labels don’t have that!”

Church is known for speaking his mind both in his music and otherwise, bringing a unique style of edgy-meets-sensitive fans are loving. His most recent record, Record Year, is a mix of reflective, somber tunes and rip-roaring gospel and rock infused anthems. The artist is currently touring festivals this summer, headlining WE Fest this August.