The three-time Country Music Association and five-time Academy of Country Music Award winner cemented his reputation as a maverick by releasing his 2015 album Mr. Misunderstood as a surprise, delivering it to fans before announcing its existence and putting it on sale. He is rising toward the peak of the country charts with “Record Year,” the second single, which Rolling Stone dubbed “the most moving moment” on the widely lauded album.
Church announced his 60+ city 2017 Holdin’ My Own Tour via Facebook Live at a two-night show at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo. The tour, that kicks off in Lincoln, Neb. and ends with a two-night run in Nashville, Tenn., will feature two sets from Church sans openers.
The man New York Times said produces songs that insist music is “fuel for love, for anguish and, naturally, for other music” earned the 2016 CMA Album of the Year Award for Mr. Misunderstood and the 2016 ACM Music Video of the Year Award for the album’s first title-track single.
The North Carolina native’s previous album, The Outsiders, debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and Top Country Albums Chart with the highest debut and sales of any release in the format that year, making Church 2014’s top-selling country music artist. The album garnered GRAMMY, CMA and ACM Album of the Year nominations and featured his No. 1 hits “Give Me Back My Hometown” and “Talladega,” as well as multiple nominee “Like A Wrecking Ball.” The Outsiders was the follow-up to Church’s 3x Platinum-certified CHIEF, named the 2012 Album of the Year by both CMA and ACM, and GRAMMY-nominated for Best Country Album. The LP featured five Top 20 singles: “Homeboy” (certified Platinum for sales in excess of one million); the Top 10 “Like Jesus Does” and the Top 5 “Creepin’” (both certified Platinum); and two No. 1 hits “Drink in My Hand” (certified Platinum) and “Springsteen” (certified Double Platinum for sales in excess of 2 million singles). Church’s sophomore album, Carolina, (2009) is RIAA Platinum certified and his 2006 debut album, Sinners Like Me is RIAA Gold certified.
Eric Church had a slew of records certified by the RIAA in recent weeks. His song “Springsteen” was just certified 5x (and 4x) platinum, while “Like a Wrecking Ball” and “Record Year” are now 2x platinum. The North Carolina native’s “Sinners Like Me” and “Over When It’s Over” have gone gold.
“Springsteen,” which is featured on Eric’s album Chief, is not just a song, it’s an experience for all of those who hear it. “The interesting thing about this song is it has probably less to do with [Bruce] Springsteen than it is about what’s happening at this amphitheater up on the lawn,” says Eric. “I had this experience. If you’ve had this experience, no matter whether you stay together or don’t stay together, when you hear that person’s music whether it’s Springsteen or anybody else, you always think of the person you were with at that show. And I have that. I just thought it was an interesting story about two people falling in love at a concert, and for the rest of their life that’s the soundtrack. That artist is the soundtrack to their love, to that time. I just love that. It makes me feel 17 again every time I hear it, and I think that other people feel the same way.”
Eric, who is currently sitting inside the Top 10 with his latest smash, “Some of It,” resumes his Double Down Tour with a two-night stand at The Gorge in George, Washington on June 28th and 29th.
Eric Church (Springsteen) OC: …my favorites. :44
“The interesting thing about this song is it has probably less to do with [Bruce] Springsteen than it is about what’s happening at this amphitheater up on the lawn. I had this experience. If you’ve had this experience, no matter whether you stay together or don’t stay together, when you hear that person’s music whether it’s Springsteen or anybody else, you always think of the person you were with at that show. And I have that. I just thought it was an interesting story about two people falling in love at a concert, and for the rest of their life that’s the soundtrack. That artist is the soundtrack to their love, to that time. I just love that. It makes me feel 17 again every time I hear it, and I think that other people feel the same way. It’s just a track that I’m very, very proud of. It might be my favorite on the record. I mean, I go back and forth between a couple, but that’s one of my favorites.”
Father’s Day is Sunday (June 16th), and we have audio with many of your favorite country stars! Download the soundbites below.
AJ (parenting style) OC: …what they did. :19
“We try to be just not pushy hands-on parents. We let them live and be their own way. I’m not stern with them. You know, I’m funny and light, and try to give them guidance and let them live and learn their own ways. And that’s something, I think, my parents did. It was accidental, but that’s what they did.”
Brandon Lay (1st Father’s Day) OC: …the experience. :24
“Hey y’all, this is Brandon Lay, and this year is gonna be my first Father’s Day as a Father, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. It’s something that I’ve dreamed about for a long time, and definitely having little Ryder these past nine months have changed everything. So, I have a whole new appreciation for families out there. I don’t know how everyone does it, but thankful for him and super thankful for the experience.”
Caylee Hammack (Dad) OC: …forget that. 1:19
“My dad has this really unnerving ability to be able to build anything at all just by thinking of it. He can look at something and build it in his mind and build it by hand, and it always works. I’ve always respected him for that. He’s a very hard worker. He’s worked every day of his life. He’s also kind, even when he doesn’t have to be. He’s the type of guy who always gives money at the light to whoever it is on the street. One of my favorite moments with my dad was when we were driving to Macon, Georgia. I was playing a show that night, and we were driving up and we saw this dog and I could tell she was a mama dog. I could tell she had babies somewhere that she was trying to nurse, and she was so skinny. And I’m a bleeding heart. I get it from my Mama, and I just start crying, and I’m like, ‘That poor dog. She’s starving trying to feed her babies.’ I thought, ‘Poor dog.” And my dad doesn’t say anything, goes up two more blocks and pulls into the McDonalds. And he goes through and he asks me if I wanted anything, and I say no. I just think he’s hungry. He goes and he buys three or four burgers, and then he goes back to that block and he drives around until we find that dog to feed it to ‘em. I just remember looking at him, being like this is what a man is; this is what a good man does, and I’ll never forget that.”
Clare Dunn (Father’s Day gift) OC: …one year. :35
“[My Dad] loves the weather, so we gave him a weather machine one year, and that was…well, he’s a farmer so he has to watch the weather all the time. And we gave him this weather gadget-gizmo that sits on top of the horse barn and gives him his own read-out of the weather. ‘What’s the temp? What’s the pressure? What’s the humidity?’ Well, there is no humidity in Colorado, or Southeast, but I think that was probably the biggest gift. My mom, I think, she gets all the credit for that, but I think we all collectively did that for Father’s Day one year.”
Darius Rucker (Father’s Day) OC: …loving dad. :41
“I think if you asked my kids what kind of Dad I was they would probably say…Dani would say that I was a fun Dad. My little daughter would say that I was a fun dad; she thinks I’m a lot of fun. I think if you caught them at the right moment they would say I was mean [laughs] because when I’m home I’m not afraid to discipline them. I’m all fun until it’s not fun anymore and then daddy’s not the fun guy. I think that they’d say that I was a fun Dad, I’m a loving Dad and I think they would say that. I’m gone so much that when I’m home, I just shower love upon my kids. I say ‘I love you’ probably fifty times a day. We hug, we kiss all the time. I’m always wanting them to know how much I love them. So I’d hope they’d say that I was a loving dad.”
Darius Rucker (mother’s qualities makes him a great father) OC: …my mom. :45
“She had a lot great qualities, but she was always, family was first for her. She was always a rock and making sure she took care of us and making sure we had things we needed to have to survive – food and clothes and a home – and seeing that and seeing how hard she worked and all the things she did just really made me the father that I am today. I mean, I’m so crazy and hands-on with my kids. I think it all comes from watching my mom have to struggle so much to support us. And so now, I don’t want me or my wife to ever have to struggle, and I don’t want my kids to ever want or wonder where I am or where there mom is. I want them to always know where we are and always be taken care of, and that all comes from my mom.”
Dierks Bentley (dad & performer) OC: …to do both. :28
“When I get home, it’s a totally different reality that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Just hanging with my girls and doing the things we do and seeing life through their eyes, it’s incredible. It takes a man to do it. It’s not a boys’ game. It takes a man to do it. I love the juxtaposition to be able to be that man and to also go on the road and act like I’m 13 years old and play video games all afternoon waiting for the fans to show up. So, it’s really a blessing to be able to do both.”
Dierks (Father’s Day) OC: …that’s for sure. :10
“My dad was my biggest influence in country music because my dad loved country radio. So, we always drove around listening to country radio and George Strait, Hank Williams and Randy Travis and all these guys, so. Without him, I wouldn’t be doing this, that’s for sure.”
Eric Church (Father’s Day) OC: …always admired. :29
“My dad is a, I’m trying to find the right words to describe him. My dad is a great guy, honest guy, very call it like he sees it, which is where I get a lot of that. No BS. I’m gonna tell you how I feel whether you like it or not. I’m that guy, I’m me…My dad’s that way, so I get a lot of that from him. There’s also an honesty and an integrity that my dad carries himself with that I’ve always admired. I think the both of them combined, and they’ve been married for I think 40 years, to be together that long in this day and time is a feat in itself.”
Jon Langston (Father’s Day) OC: …just fine. :16
“My Dad has been my hero all my life. He’s the man I want to be one day when I grow up. I’m thankful for all he’s done for me and the sacrifices he’s made for our family. If I’m half the man he is one day, I’ll be just fine.”
Jordan Davis (Father’s Day) OC: …my music. :45
“The thing I love most about my Dad is just his overall love of life. He’s a guy that’s worked hard and is now at a point where he can enjoy it, and he’s living every day to the fullest. That’s something that I’m very thankful that I’ve seen my Dad do and something to learn from. So, that’s probably my favorite quality about the old man, and just the hard work too. My dad ran a furniture business in Shreveport for a long time with his Dad. It was great to grow up and see a guy work hard and helped his Dad build a business from the ground up to a very successful business, and that’s something that I even try to carry over into my music.”
Josh Turner (Father’s Day) OC: …one of ‘em. 1:05
“As far as talent and potential, my oldest three, especially, they could do anything they wanted to do if they put their mind to it and their heart was there. My oldest [Hampton] is incredible at playing mandolin. Colby, we kind of noticed him turn the corner lately with the fiddle, and Marion is actually playing a ukulele that’s tuned like the top four strings on a guitar, so in essence, he’s learning how to play guitar. They’ve just kind of started incorporating some singing into some playing, so they’re starting the whole singing and playing at the same time kind of thing, and not only that, they’re even learning to play songs together on their individual instruments. So, it’s amazing to see how much they can learn in such a short amount of time. It makes me realize how much I missed out on when I was that age, ‘cause I did take some music lessons growing up and everything, but I think they feed off of each other honestly. I think that’s why they’re getting so good is because they’re all doing it, not just one of ‘em.”
Keith Urban (Father’s Day) OC: …experience that. :36
“The first thing is probably just having someone call you dad. I’m like, ‘Omigosh! I’m her dad! That’s amazing.’ That’s probably the first thing to me. I don’t know, I mean, the different personalities that our two daughters have, that’s amazing. It’s such a long list I think. I always say…I think for the people that haven’t had kids – which I hadn’t for a long, long time. I didn’t have kids ‘til later on, and being around it is not the same as having them, you know? I realize that it’s not something that can be explained until you actually sort of have it, so I’m glad I got to experience that.”
Kip Moore (Father’s Day-dad’s influence) OC: …of us singin’ ‘em. :29
“He would just play all those classic records – Little River Band, Jackson Brown, Springsteen, Seeger, Willie Nelson, the Red-Headed Stranger, Kristofferson, Sam Cook – like classic music. He’d be singing the songs and telling us why it was such good music. And I looked up to him so much, that’s the music I gravitated towards and that’s what I continue to listen to. Whenever I think about those old fishing trips, that’s what I think about is on the way down there, him singing those songs and all of us singin’ ‘em.”
Luke Bryan (Father’s Day-life lessons) OC: …live by that. :46
“Well, my dad was, I always just go back to the life lessons that always started either in a fishing boat or hunting somewhere, and that’s why I’ve always kind of been a champion of those types of behaviors certainly with your boys and your children because you get to spend time and hand down values. My dad was always big on just hard work and being good to people and a handshake is the contract. A handshake is your bond, your word. His famous saying always was, ‘Do something right the first time and you won’t have to go back and do it over again.’ I won’t say I batted a thousand perfectly on that, but I’ve kind of tried to live by that.”
Maddie & Tae (Father’s Day) OC: …for Father’s Day. :26
“So, for Father’s Day, I made my Dad – I think it was right before I moved to Nashville – I made my Dad this little photo book where it had like his quotes that have stuck with me my whole life and then some pictures, and it was really funky. It looks horrible. It’s not put together, but that’s one of his favorite gifts that he’s ever gotten, and I cherish that ugly photo book thing that I made for him for Father’s Day.”
Sam Hunt (Father’s Day) OC: …he’s great. :27
“I’m obviously biased about my parents, but I’ve been around a lot of great men of integrity, but he is by far the best man that I know. He’s just taught me so much about being a man, doing the right thing, knowing the difference between right and wrong. And even though I don’t always follow his lead, I definitely know better because of him, and that means a whole lot to me. I was just really fortunate to have him as a dad, and he’s great.”
Travis Denning (Father’s Day) OC: …for sure. :43
“My dad – I call him ‘Diamond Dave’ and a lot of other people do too. Honestly, I don’t know if I drink more with anybody else more than my Dad. I think a super cool thing now is getting older and knowing that I’m starting to get more and more sustained as a human that it’s like my parents get to be friends now with me and my sister, which is such a cool thing. And so, yeah, me and my Dad – we love music and we love heavy metal and we love all that. We get to go to concerts and football games and drink beer and just enjoy that cool part of a father and a son and a mother and a son where now we get to be friends and it’s really cool. My Dad is my best friend, for sure.”
Vince Gill (Father’s Day) OC: …feels like. :40
“Kindness-hopefully make them kind, and it’s what we got. We’ve got five great kids and a couple of grandkids. Those grandkids are the complete light of my life. They just show up, and the rest of the world can kiss my you-know-what. (laughs) I say, ‘We’re gonna go swing in the backyard. We’re gonna wrestle on the bed. We’re gonna eat those goldfish,’ and nothing else kind of seems to matter. And I think what I love seeing more than anything is for my kid to finally understand what it means to love. And it’s awesome to see my kid finally get it, what that unconditional love really looks like and feels like.”
In addition to all of the amazing performances at this year’s CMA Music Fest, there were also some surprise appearances. Carrie Underwood performed at Nissan Stadium (home to the Tennessee Titans) and during her set, she brought out the legendary Joan Jett to perform a medley of the rocker’s hits (“I Hate Myself for Loving You,” “Bad Reputation,” “Crimson and Clover”).
Keith Urban surprised the crowd on Saturday night to join Billy Ray Cyrus and L’il Nas X at the Stadium to perform the No. 1 song in the nation, “Old Town Road.”
Eric Church hit the stage at Nissan Stadium on Friday (June 7th) accompanied by his acoustic guitar to perform a 30-minute medley of several of his hits, including “Drink in My Hand,” “Mr. Misunderstood,” “Talladega,” “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Round Here Buzz” and many more.
Jon Pardi surprised the Nissan Stadium crowd during Thomas Rhett‘s set to perform “Beer Can’t Fix” from TR’s new album, Center Point Road complete with a koozie-covered beer.
On Thursday, legendary duo Brooks & Dunn surprised the audience when they stepped onstage during Brothers Osborne‘s set to perform “Hard Workin’ Man,” which is featured on B&D’s new Reboot album. TJ and John also brought up their friend Ashley McBryde to perform her cut on the duo’s album of their huge hit, “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” also featured on Reboot.
Carrie Underwood (CMA Fest-Joan Jett) OC: …off on me. :25
“I get to sing with Joan Jett, guys! Whooooo! (I’m) super excited. I feel like we’ve had connections and bumped into each other in various places, and the stars just aligned. It was kind of like, ‘What if Joan Jett came to CMA Fest?’ ‘Well, let’s ask her.’ So, she’s here. The coolness has arrived, and I’m hoping some of it rubs off on me.”
Carrie Underwood (CMA Fest-Joan Jett) 2 OC: …sing with me. :25
“Just hearing her songs on the radio and the more I got to know and see just how much of a trailblazer she was for, not just women in her genre of music, but women in music in general…I mean, I’m a fan on every level — personally, professionally, musically and honored that she’s heard my name before and agreed to come sing with me.”
Keith Urban (CMA Fest-Old Town Road) OC: …with him last night. :23
“I just loved the song when I heard it. I love the record too, you know? Those are sometimes very separate things – the song to the record — but I just loved it and wanted to do my little cover version of it on my ganjo. From that very spontaneous moment, Nas saw the piece that I did and really loved it apparently, and next thing you know, I’m playing with him (and Billy Ray) last night.”
Jon Pardi (Thomas Rhett song) OC: …short hair now. (laughs) :44
“So (claps), me and Thomas (Rhett) go back to the long hair days — two songwriters trying to figure out who they’re gonna be in country music. I was so happy when he texted me and asked me to be a part of this record, and I was like, ‘Of course! Like come on! What song?’ He sent me two and we decided to sing ‘Beer Can’t Fix,’ ’cause it’s an anthem. It’s a no-brainer. For two male artists to sing a song together, I think it’s perfect. it’s about, well, drinking a beer. It’s fun, and I would say there’s a full-circle (moment) for me and him to walk out on Nissan and sing, for the first time ever, this song together. I don’t know. I think it’s cool, and we have short hair now.” (laughs)
Brothers Osborne (Brooks & Dunn) OC: …of us both. :46
First we were asked, ‘Are you guys fans of Brooks & Dunn?’ I just thought it was a ridiculous question to ask if you’re not a fan of Brooks & Dunn, then you shouldn’t be in this genre. But, so then it was like, ‘What song are we gonna do?’ Then it was a little tough because Ronnie’s voice is so high and obviously, I have a baritone voice, of trying to get a song to work for both of our strengths, and then a song that lends itself to a lot of guitar parts and then ‘Hard Workin’ Man,’ it became pretty obvious that was a really great song, but that also took abandoning one of the guitar hooks in that song. It was just crazy, because we wanted to do it like Brooks & Dunn did it, because we just love the song, and they wanted to do it like we would do it. It was a really interesting thing. I think the way that it turned out was really great. I’m really proud of it, and I think it really is a perfect kind of mix of us both.”