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.
The nominees for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards were announced this week, and several UMG Nashville artists are in the running. Little Big Town picked up two nods for Best Country Album for Nightfall, as well as one for Best Country Duo/Group for “Sugar Coat,” along with Brothers Osborne for “All Night.”
— Little Big Town (@littlebigtown) November 24, 2020
John and TJ Osborne earn their six Grammy nod and they say they’re still surprised.
Still surprised the @recordingacademy would let us in the room. Even more surprised they would nominate us for a Grammy. Thanks for letting a couple of one stop light town brothers join some brilliant creators. Always a honor. pic.twitter.com/DDikteible
— Brothers Osborne (@brothersosborne) November 25, 2020
Eric Church’s “Stick That in Your Country Song,” Vince Gill’s “When My Amy Prays” and Mickey Guyton’s “Black Like Me” are nominated for Best Country Solo Performance.
— Recording Academy / GRAMMYs (@RecordingAcad) November 24, 2020
I haven't been able to put into words the emotions I feel. This #GRAMMYs nomination is for every black girl that felt unseen. That felt unheard. That felt like they weren’t enough. That felt shoved in a corner & completely unconsidered. This is for them. Thank you @RecordingAcad pic.twitter.com/3tvKWxOhQ0
— Mickey Guyton (@MickeyGuyton) November 25, 2020
Of significant note, Taylor Swift earned six nominations. Folklore, a follow-up to her Lover album, was nominated for best pop vocal album. The album’s lead pop single, “Cardigan,” was also recognized in the overall Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance categories. Her collaboration with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, “Exile,” received a nod in Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. If that wasn’t all, the “betty” artist earned a nomination for best song written for visual media for her collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Cats’ “Beautiful Ghosts.”
The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards will air live January 31st beginning at 8pm ET. The pre-telecast ceremony will take place earlier in the day via streaming starting at 3pm ET.
Best Country Album
Lady Like, Ingrid Andress
Your Life Is a Record, Brandy Clark
Wildcard, Miranda Lambert
Nightfall, Little Big Town
Never Will, Ashley McBryde
Best Country Solo Performance
“Stick That in Your Country Song,” Eric Church
“Who You Thought I Was,” Brandy Clark
“When My Amy Prays,” Vince Gill
“Black Like Me,” Mickey Guyton
“Bluebird,” Miranda Lambert
Best Country Duo / Group Performance
“All Night,” Brothers Osborne
“10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber
“Ocean,” Lady A
“Sugar Coat,” Little Big Town
“Some People Do,” Old Dominion
The Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth, in the state that’s now known as Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s. People now celebrate the holiday by giving thanks for their blessings over the past year, as well as feasting on turkey and other festive goodies.
Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, November 26th, and this year will most likely be a little different from previous years due to the global pandemic. Most people might be enjoying time with a small group of their friends and families, including some of your favorite country stars, such as Adam Hambrick, Alan Jackson, Brandon Lay, Brothers Osborne, Caylee Hammack, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Jon Langston, Jon Pardi, Josh Turner, Keith Urban, Kip Moore, Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Mickey Guyton, Sam Hunt, Travis Denning and more. They share their thoughts of thanks this year, their lessons in gratitude, memories and favorite Thanksgiving dishes. (More audio will be added.)
Click here for liners.
Adam Hambrick (Thanksgiving) OC: …I was raised. :32
“I know this sounds very cheesy, but I am very thankful for my family. A lot of the good things that have happened in my life are just a result of being raised in a family with two parents that love each other, with sisters that I love and being raised in a community of people, even outside of my family, that’s just a lot of love and a lot of care. Those are the things that raise a person up to be successful, and I am a success because of the way I was raised.”
Adam Hambrick (Thanksgiving food) OC: …Thanksgiving. :21
“Oh man. Give me Granddaddy’s turkey and dressing and just the friggin’ canned cranberry sauce, [laughs] like I’ll suck it down like a champ. There’s just something about the canned cranberry sauce with my Granddaddy’s turkey and dressing that will always taste like Thanksgiving.”
AJ (Thanksgiving) OC: …enjoy it. :19
“My favorite Thanksgiving dish would be the homemade dressin’ that we, cornbread-based kind of dressin’ that we always have with turkey. That recipe is a kind of a combination of my mama, and Denise has taken it and perfected it over the years, so that me and my children really enjoy it.”
Brandon Lay (Thanksgiving) OC: …thankful for. :22
“I tell you what, this year has been a crazy year. I mean 2020 will have an asterisk beside it for the rest of history, no doubt. My bright spot was my little girl being born in June right in the middle of all of this craziness. When I look around at all of the bad things that have happened, I look at her and realize how much I’ve got to be thankful for.”
Brothers Osborne (misfits Thanksgiving) OC: …going home. :45
“What we’ve done the past several years is because it’s so hard to go home, we would have what we call the Misfit Thanksgiving dinner, and all the people in Nashville who aren’t able to go home to their families, we would just invite them over to our house and have a big potluck style Thanksgiving dinner. We’ll take like a couple of tables and throw them together and throw some sheets on it just to make it look nice. It’s a very redneck display of like tableware, because all the plates don’t match an d the forks and knives don’t match, but we don’t care. People will bring wine, and at the end of the day, we’ll probably have 12-15 people all sitting at dinner together that weren’t able to go home with their families, and just enjoy it with friends. It’s been really fun. Definitely a lot less stress than going home.”
Carrie Underwood (Thanksgiving) OC: …the other one. :34
“We don’t have too many set-in-stone Thanksgiving traditions. I find myself a lot of times working on or around Thanksgiving or unable to get home or whatever. We try to be together, but sometimes that just doesn’t work out. But yeah, I mean, I think it’s just about we eat. I eat a lot every year on Thanksgiving. [laughs] I never skip THAT tradition. But yeah, that’s the gist of it, and I’m kind of lucky. I get two Thanksgivings, because I also get to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, so if I don’t hit one, I’ll definitely be able to get the other one.”
Caylee Hammack (Thanksgiving) OC: …favorite holiday. :27
“Thanksgiving is the one holiday where we stay at home. We stay at my family’s house, and it’s just me, my mom and dad, my brother and sister and their families. We all sit around and just eat all day. And I love Thanksgiving because you don’t have to worry about getting gifts for people; you don’t have to worry about wrapping them. You just show up and you eat all day with the people you love. So, I absolutely love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday.”
Caylee Hammack (Thanksgiving eats) OC: …cranberry jelly. :15
“My favorite Thanksgiving meal (dish) is definitely cornbread dressing. My mom makes the best, er, some people call it stuffing, but I’ve always called it dressing for some reason. But I love that with canned cranberry jelly.”
Darius Rucker (favorite part of Thanksgiving) OC: …my family. :17
“My favorite part of Thanksgiving is easy – it’s food. It’s eating. It’s hanging out with family and getting some great food, ‘cause that’s really what Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all of the great things you’ve got, and I always give thanks for the greatest thing I’ve got and that’s my family.”
Darius Rucker (Thanksgiving Day favorite sporting day) OC: …big for me. :10
“Thanksgiving Day is my favorite sports day of the year. It’s crazy how much football you get to watch (laughs) on Thanksgiving Day, so I really like that a lot. Thanksgiving is big for me.”
Dierks Bentley (Thanksgiving must-have) OC: …for Thanksgiving. :34
“You gotta have a big turkey. Thanksgiving is not possible without a turkey. We cook it traditionally, but when we’re in, a couple of Thanksgivings ago, we were here in Nashville, we did the whole fry the turkey up, and it was great. It just tasted so good; all those juices get locked in there, and I love that too. You really can’t, to me, cook a turkey wrong. I’m gonna eat it any way, and I have over the years. Trust me, I’ve played a lot of county and state fairs, where I’ve seen gigantic turkey legs, you know, I’ve had the flat meat. I’ve done turkey every way you could do it. I’m pretty good any way you want to cook it up, but you’ve got to have a turkey for Thanksgiving.”
Eric Church (Thanksgiving 2020) OC: …out with them. :38
You know, this has been a helluva year, and one thing I’m most thankful for is my family, their health, you know, we’ve all, I think, grown closer during this. I’m looking forward to a more normal 2021. I don’t know if it’ll be normal, but it will be more normal and getting closer to that and then an absolutely normal 2022 is how I see the next two years. For me, I’m just thankful that I’ve been with my family and we’ve all stayed healthy and I’ve gotten to hang out with them.”
Jon Langston (Thanksgiving) OC: …pretty cool. :21
“We always watch football on Thanksgiving. It was pretty cool in high school. It was a big deal in high school if you had practice on Thanksgiving Day because you made third round of the playoffs. So, in high school we always had practice on Thanksgiving, so I guess that was pretty cool. Everybody’s waking up on a cold Thanksgiving morning going to football practice, but yeah, pretty cool.”
Josh Turner (fave side dish) OC: …’em myself. [laughs] :24
“Uh, deviled eggs! [laughs] Where I’m from in South Carolina, I don’t think I’ve tasted a bad deviled egg. It’s like everybody has their own twist on it, but they’re all good, but I always loved it when my mama made ‘em. I’m learning as I get older, making deviled eggs is no easy task. It’s more complicated than it looks, and so that’s probably why I never made ‘em myself.” [laughs]
Josh Turner (holidays) OC: …the peace and quiet. :38
“I love being outside in nature and the outdoors, and the holidays is a great time for me to go and partake in that part of my life. A lot of times, Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a little cold to go fishing, but when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a great time to go hunting, especially in South Carolina, that’s when the temperatures are starting to drop and the conditions are getting right, and especially in November, kind of the tail end of the rut, as far as deer season. So, it’s a good time to get in the deer stand whether you kill anything or not, it’s just a great time to just get away from everything and get away from the noise and the lights and the diesel fumes [laughs] and just relax and just enjoy the peace and quiet.”
Kassi Ashton (Thanksgiving 2020) OC: …the new year. :32
“Even though this year has basically put the music industry on pause and has been difficult for all of us, I think the thing I’m most thankful for is one, the people around me that I love so much; the relationships that keep me sane and I do the same for them in return. And a step back being able to refill my creative tank, focusing in on what I want to say, what I want to put out in the world and finding a way to take all that and move forward into the new year.”
Keith (Thanksgiving) OC: …for me. :21
“Thankful that, well, my marriage is just, it’s life-giving, not just life-changing, it’s been life-giving for me. And from there, we created life, and that’s just beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And the effect that all of that has had in my work, has given life to it too, given it a sense of purpose and really deepened the experience for me.”
LBT (Thanksgiving) 2 OC: (Kimberly) …and eat. :31
KIMBERLY: “Thanksgiving—we love Thanksgiving, ‘cause we get to be with our families and we don’t often get to spend time with our families, our extended families, until the holidays. I love being around the table with my family and talking and laughing and cooking and eating…” JIMI: “And eating and eating and eating and eating…” PHILLIP: “The laughter around the eating, the good cheer, the celebration, the music…” JIMI: “The eating, going taking a nap, then coming back and eating.” KIMBERLY: “Go to bed with a full belly, take a nap, and then get up and eat.”
Mickey Guyton (favorite Thanksgiving dish) OC: …both so much! :39
“My favorite Thanksgiving dish that has to, has to, has to be at Thanksgiving dinner is dessert. Dessert is my favorite Thanksgiving dish. I mean, it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s sweet. My mom actually makes an Italian cream cake that’s absolutely awesome. It’s homemade, and the entire family, that’s the first thing to go at Thanksgiving dinner. And my Grandma D, she makes a pecan pie that is awesome. She taught me how to make them when I was little, and I just love them, and that’s the other thing that I look forward to at Thanksgiving dinner, and I love them both so much!”
Parker McCollum (Thanksgiving 2020) OC: …granted in 2020. :15
“I would just say probably my family being healthy and alive more so, I know it’s kind of a cliché thing to say, but I think this year it kind of holds a little more weight, just with everything going on. To be alive and breathing is, don’t want to take that for granted in 2020.”
Parker McCollum (Thanksgiving eats) OC: …creamed corn. Mmm hmmm. “04
“My Aunt’s creamed corn is pretty bomb. I love creamed corn. Mmm hmmm.”
Priscilla Block (Thanksgiving 2020) OC: …grateful for that. :22
“It is so crazy to even put what I’m thankful for into one thing, or the greatest thing, because this has been the best year of my life, the best and the worst year of my life. And I’m so thankful that the worst year of my life flipped upside down and it has been the best year, and I am forever grateful for that.”
Priscilla Block (Thanksgiving) OC: …so much. :34
“Thanksgiving has always been chaos, actually any holiday that my entire family is there is straight chaos. But for Thanksgiving, we all try so hard to be together and it’s such a fun holiday to, my family’s a little cheesy. Like, we actually still go around the table and being like, ‘What are you thankful for?’ ‘What are you thankful for?’ So, that means a lot where it’s not about presents, it’s not about anything else. It’s just about truly being thankful, and that’s why I love Thanksgiving so much.”
Sam Hunt (Thanksgiving eats) OC: …all disappears. :12
“When I pile my plate up, it’s mostly turkey and then I’ll put a little dressing on the side, and I’ll usually go ahead and grab my dessert on the first run [laughs] and have it ready before it all disappears.”
Travis Denning (2020) OC: …for a living. :34
“For Thanksgiving this year, I’m just most thankful that I’ve been able to have a career doing what I love. I mean this crazy time has totally put into perspective how fortunate I am to go play concerts, you know, go perform for people. I mean, it’s just such a crazy dream that sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into and not really stop and smell the roses, but God, now not being able to be on the road has really shown me how thankful I am that people come out to concerts and that’s what I do for a living.”
Travis Denning (typical Thanksgiving holiday) OC: …a lot of people. :22
“A typical Thanksgiving growing up was essentially and the men of the family – Dad and Uncle Mike and my granddaddy — watching football, while grandmama and my mom pretty much yelled at each other in the kitchen the whole day. But they threw down and made the best food you could ever imagine, which you know is kind of how it is for a lot of people.”
In a year unlike any other, it’s fitting that the 54th annual CMA Awards culminated with the genre’s dark horse Eric Church earning the title of Entertainer of the Year.
“If there was ever a year not to win…” Church laughed as he took the stage to accept the night’s ultimate trophy. “This year, at least for me, has been about loss – loss of life, loss of playing shows, loss of freedom, loss of kids being in school… And you know what the win is? The win is we all were here tonight, together as Country music – in person, live and I believe this, I really believe this: It’s gonna be music that brings us out of this. That is the one thing that’s gonna save the world. Politicians are about division; music is about unity.”
Before leaving the stage, the stunned entertainer added as a rallying call, “And I promise you, it’s gonna take everyone in this room to unite.”
"It's gonna be music that brings us out of this. That is the one thing that's gonna save the entire world."
— Eric Church (@ericchurch) November 12, 2020
Now six studio albums into his career, the North Carolinian always approaches things differently. Whether playing back-to-back nights in nearly 30 cities on his 2019 Double Down Tour or pushing himself to new creative limits with his recording process, Church has steadily amassed a faithful congregation – the Church Choir – since 2006’s release of “How ‘Bout You.” Many of those fans took to social media to congratulate the star, with an outpouring of comments proclaiming, “Congratulations Chief!” And it was those fans he was speaking to in the press conference following the awards show.
“When you go to a concert and your favorite artist plays your favorite song, and you throw your arm around the person next to you, you don’t worry about whether he’s a Republican or a Democrat, whether he’s pro-life or pro-choice. You’re in that moment and you’re pulling on the rope the same way. I think what we’re missing right now in America is more of the stuff that unites us versus what divides us,” Church shared. “I swear — it’s going to be music that saves us… It’s going to be about how we do it, and how we do it responsibly, and how we show that this is how we’re gonna leave COVID in the dust.”
Eric performed his latest single, “Hell of a View,” on the CMA Awards show (see link to lyrics below).
Church’s foresight with his new music, while written pre-pandemic, still addresses the underlying sense of division that was already palpable in our nation. Whether threw his spoken word piece entitled “Who Will Answer The Call?”, released earlier this year, where he shared a message of resolve, or by offering hope in “Through My Ray-Bans,” Church’s music has already served as a unifier .
“There’s a point in the show where I walk out in the crowd and I put my arms around them, we get pictures and it’s what life’s about. It’s that moment… What ‘Through My Ray-Bans’ is about is that I wish we could freeze that and I wish that was how life was — right there, just how I saw you.”
Previous CMA Award Wins:
Album of the Year (Chief)
Musical Event of the Year (“Raise ’Em Up” with Keith Urban)
Album of the Year (Mr. Misunderstood)
“Hell Of A View” Lyrics HERE
Eric Church (CMA 2020) 1 OC: …next year or two. :31
“There’s not really been winners this year. I mean, nobody’s played. Nobody’s done the things we normally do. It’s been a year, to me, about losses. It’s about loss of life. It’s about loss of education for your kids. It’s about loss of time playing. It’s been a year of managing those losses. But I really meant what I said (during my acceptance speech) that we were in a room together as country music, and that’s not happened this year. So, I think that that was a win for country music, and I think it was a win for where we’re gonna go in the next year or two.”
Eric Church (CMA 2020) 2 OC: …what this is. :56
“Everything we see in daily life is about division. It’s about where you line up. Music has nothing to do with division. Music is about unity. It’s about uniting, and I truly believe in my heart that music will bring us out of all the sxxx we’re in right now. So, for me, it’s all about music. It’s about putting your arm around the guy next to you. It’s about having that moment that you can share, regardless about what your politics are, regardless of what your favorite freaking football team is, I think that that unity that makes us American. It’s the most patriotic thing in the world. It has nothing to do with anything other than the love of music. That was what I tried to convey even though I was pretty shocked on stage tonight, but that’s what this is.