Eric Church

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Eric Church
Photo of Eric Church performing live on stage
Church in 2012
Background information
Birth name Kenneth Eric Church
Born (1977-05-03) May 3, 1977 (age 39)
Granite Falls, North Carolina, U.S.
Origin Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • banjo
Years active 2005–present
Associated acts

Kenneth Eric Church (born May 3, 1977), known professionally as Eric Church, is an American country music singer and songwriter. Signed to Capitol Nashville since 2005, he has since released a total of five studio albums for that label. His debut album, 2006's Sinners Like Me, produced four singles on the Billboard country charts including the top 20 hits "How 'Bout You", "Springsteen", "Two Pink Lines", and "Guys Like Me".

His second album, 2009's Carolina, produced three more singles: "Smoke a Little Smoke" and his first top 10 hits, "Love Your Love the Most" and "Hell on the Heart". 2011's Chief, his first No. 1 album, gave him his first two No. 1 singles, "Drink in My Hand" and "Springsteen", and the hits "Homeboy", "Creepin'", and "Like Jesus Does". His third No. 1 single was "The Only Way I Know", which he, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan recorded for Aldean's album Night Train. A fourth album, The Outsiders, was released in February 2014. It produced five new singles between 2013–15 with the title track, "Give Me Back My Hometown", "Cold One", "Talladega" and "Like a Wrecking Ball". "Talladega" and "Give Me Back My Hometown" each reached number one on the Country Airplay chart. Eric Church got his sixth No. 1 hit with Keith Urban in May 2015 with the single "Raise 'Em Up". He released his fifth studio album, Mr. Misunderstood, on November 3, 2015.

Early life[edit]

Church was born on May 3, 1977 in Granite Falls, North Carolina. At 13, he bought a guitar and began writing songs of his own. By his senior year of high school, he had found a gig at a local bar, which occupied most of his time. He played many Jimmy Buffett cover songs and a few of his own original songs in some dive bars. Some of these places were so rough that he got into a few altercations from the stage. For a few years, the band played often in bars and restaurants throughout North Carolina.[citation needed] The band "Mountain Boys" consisted of his college roommate, brother, and a fellow guitarist.[2]

Before moving to Nashville, Eric graduated from South Caldwell High School and then Appalachian State University with a degree in marketing.[3] Upon graduation, Church became engaged with a Spanish teacher in the town of Lenoir, North Carolina. The future bride's father attempted to persuade Eric into a corporate career, which he rejected as an aspiring musician. She broke the engagement and he headed to Nashville with his father's financial backing. His father also provided the opportunity to make contacts, and more importantly, time to focus on developing his songwriting ability.[citation needed]

Music career[edit]

2006–07: Sinners Like Me[edit]

Church co-wrote Terri Clark's 2005 single "The World Needs a Drink",[2] and the track "Whiskey Wings" on Dean Miller's 2005 album Platinum.[4]

He started recording with different producers. Capitol Nashville showed an interest and watched him perform but they were yet to be convinced enough to offer a recording contract.[5] Autumn House-Tallant told HitQuarters that they didn't think the music was interesting enough.[5] The record company's attitude changed after he started working with producer Jay Joyce. Doyle states, “Eric scored a meeting with Nashville heavyweight Arthur Buenahora, a publisher at Sony Music who also signed Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert. Church played him "Lightning", a ballad he wrote after watching the movie The Green Mile”. (p. 5) The strong sound and direction the two forged together finally convinced Capitol Nashville that he was ready.[5] His first single, "How 'Bout You" peaked at No. 14 on Hot Country Songs and led off his debut album Sinners Like Me. In April 2006, he performed on the Grand Ole Opry for the first time.[6]

The album's other two singles, "Two Pink Lines" and "Guys Like Me", both reached the Top 20 as well.[2] The fourth single, the title track, peaked at No. 51. An additional track from the album, "Lightning", was made into a music video despite not being released as a single. Church wrote the song shortly after moving to Nashville, inspired by the movie The Green Mile.[6] Following the album's success, Church toured with Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts.[6]

2008–10: Carolina[edit]

In 2008, Eric Church released a fifth single, "His Kind of Money (My Kind of Love)" to country radio. It debuted on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart at No. 55 in early 2008, and reached its peak of No. 46 in August. Originally slated as the lead single to an upcoming second album, "His Kind of Money" was instead included as a bonus track on albums sold at Best Buy.

Following this song was "Love Your Love the Most", which debuted in early 2009 and was the first single from his second album Carolina, released in stores on March 24, 2009.[2] The night before the official release, Church and Capitol Records distributed copies of the album on the campus of Church's alma mater, Appalachian State University, during a "release party" concert.[7] As with his debut album, Carolina was produced by Jay Joyce, and is entirely composed of songs that he co-wrote. "Love Your Love the Most" brought Church to the top 10 for the very first time, peaking at No. 10 in September 2009. The album's second single, "Hell on the Heart", debuted in October 2009 and would also hit the top 10 in May 2010. The third single from "Carolina" was "Smoke a Little Smoke".

In June 2010 he moved to Capitol Nashville's new imprint EMI Records Nashville, becoming their second artist. On January 14, 2011, he released a four song EP entitled Caldwell County.

2011–13: Chief[edit]

Photo of Eric Church on stage
Church performing live at GNA's Countryfest at the Times Union Center, Albany, New York, July 7, 2012

Church released "Homeboy" to country radio in early 2011. The album Chief, produced by Jay Joyce, was released July 26, 2011, debuting at No. 1 on both Top Country Albums and the Billboard 200.[8][9] The album sold 145,000 copies in its first week.[8] On November 30, 2011, Chief was announced as a nominee for the 2012 Grammy Awards for Best Country Album. In January 2012 "Drink in My Hand" became his first No. 1 single. In February 2012, "Springsteen" was released as the third single from Chief. In an interview with American Songwriter, Church stated that the song was about "a love affair that takes place in an amphitheater between two people. It didn’t happen with Springsteen, ironically, it happened with another artist.”[10] The song went on to become a Number One country hit, as well as his first Top 20 single on the Billboard Hot 100. The album's fourth single, "Creepin'", was released to country radio on July 16, 2012. Church lent his vocals for a song titled, "The Only Way I Know", with Jason Aldean along Luke Bryan. This song appears on Aldean's album Night Train, from which it was released as the second single. The fifth single from Chief, "Like Jesus Does", was released in January 2013[11] and peaked at number six on Country Airplay chart in June 2013.

In September 2012, Church announced that he planned to release his first live album in 2013, containing recordings of performances at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on October 8 and 9, 2012.[12] On February 8, the live album's title was announced as Caught in the Act, with a release date set for April 9.[13] Church has stated he plans to take some time off from music in 2013 to focus on his songwriting and musical direction.[14] At the 2012 CMA Awards in November, Church's album Chief won Album of The Year.[15] In November it was announced that Church would co-headline Kenny Chesney's No Shoes Nation Tour alongside Chesney, Zac Brown Band, and Eli Young Band.[16] In December, Eric was honored as one of the CMT Artists of the Year Awards; his award was presented by Kid Rock and he received a video message of congratulations from Metallica's James Hetfield.[17]

2013–15: The Outsiders[edit]

On October 22, 2013, Church released a new single titled "The Outsiders". His fourth studio album, also titled The Outsiders, was released on February 11, 2014.[18] This album, as with Church's previous three, was produced by Jay Joyce and released on the EMI Records Nashville label.[9] It was followed in January 2014 by "Give Me Back My Hometown". This single reached number one on the Country Airplay chart, becoming his fourth overall. The third single, "Cold One", was released in June 2014, followed by "Talladega" in September. The latter reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in February 2015. The fifth single, "Like a Wrecking Ball", was released to country radio in March 9, 2015.

2015–present: Mr. Misunderstood[edit]

On November 3, 2015, Church's new surprise album, Mr. Misunderstood, arrived in the mailboxes of his church choir members. The album became available to the public on iTunes the following day. The album was released as a surprise with no fanfare and no promotional advertisements. It was produced by The Outsiders producer Jay Joyce and executive producer Arturo Buenahora, Jr. The first single, the title track, was released to radio on November 9, 2015. The first live performance and debut of the title track was at the 2015 CMA Awards. The song peaked at #15 on the airplay chart on February 6, 2016.[19] "Record Year" is the album's second single. The album's final track, "Three Year Old", pays tribute to all the lesson's Eric has learned from his three-year-old son Boone McCoy. Boone McCoy was also credited with naming Eric's guitar "ButterBean". Church used "ButterBean" for the creation of the album.[20] Mr. Misunderstood was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2016 ACM Awards and the title track was nominated for Video of the Year.[21] Mr. Misunderstood features 10 self-written and co-written tracks and features themes of independence, lessons learned, and loyalty. The album was recorded by Jason Hall at St. Charles in Nashville. In March 2016, "Record Year" was released to radio; it reached #1 on the Country Airplay in August 2016. The album's third single, "Kill a Word" released to country radio on August 29, 2016. Church was selected as one of 30 artists to perform on "Forever Country", a mash-up track of Take Me Home, Country Roads, On the Road Again and I Will Always Love You which celebrates 50 years of the CMA Awards.[22]

Personal life[edit]

On January 8, 2008, Church married music publisher Katherine Blasingame in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. At the wedding, Church performed "You Make It Look So Easy", a song he wrote for Blasingame. On October 3, 2011, they welcomed their first son, Boone McCoy Church.[23][24] and on February 15, 2015, their second son, Tennessee Hawkins "Hawk" Church was born.[25] Their home (along with Eric's "man cave"), located in Nashville, was featured in an episode of CMT's Cribs.[26]

The Chief Cares Fund is a foundation organized by Eric and Katherine Church in 2013. The non-profit organization has been used to help underprivileged families in Tennessee, North Carolina, and even as far as helping orphans in Nepal receive clothing, proper bedding, and schooling. The foundation has also delivered bibles to Haiti and helps fund Humane Society no-kill animal shelters. People can donate to the foundation on Eric Church's website by simply donating or by purchasing exclusive Chief Cares Platinum Tickets to his concerts where money from the tickets go to the Chief Cares Fund.[27]

Church wears his signature aviator sunglasses as a result of wearing contact lenses. When his career was getting started, he was forced to deal with the heat from the stage lights drying out his contacts.[28] As he began performing in larger venues, his aviators and Von Dutch denim trucker hat became his signature trademark.

Church has become an avid advocate for the use of cannabis, reflected in songs such as "Smoke a Little Smoke"; at the time of that song's release, Church's record label urged him not to release the song, though it became a minor success as a single.[29] Church has also referenced marijuana use in other songs like "The Joint" and "I'm Gettin' Stoned", and has even been the subject of a marijuana joke at the 49th ACM Awards where Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan referred to Eric Church as the Willie Nelson for the new-country generation and compared Eric Church's dressing room to a cannabis dispensary.

Musical styles[edit]

Eric's style has been described as country rock, outlaw country, and southern rock. Church's influences include Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, Little Feat, The Band, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Waylon Jennings.[30] Eric has also claimed that many hard rock and heavy metal bands influenced his music, including Metallica, Pantera, and AC/DC.[31]




Band members[edit]

Band members
  • Eric Church – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo, piano
  • Driver Williams – lead guitar, rhythm guitar
  • Jeff Cease – rhythm guitar, lead guitar
  • Jeff Hyde – acoustic guitar, banjo, background vocals
  • Lee Hendricks – bass guitar
  • Craig Wright – drums
  • Joanna Cotten – vocals
  • Jay Joyce – production

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards Year Association Category Result
ACM Awards 2011 Eric Church Top New Solo Vocalist Won
Top New Artist Nominated
2012 Chief Album of the Year Nominated
"Homeboy" Video of the Year Nominated
2013 Eric Church Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
Chief Album of the Year Won
"Springsteen" Single of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year (songwriting with Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell) Nominated
"Creepin'" Music Video of the Year Nominated
"The Only Way I Know" (with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan) Vocal Event of the Year Won
2015 Eric Church Jim Reeves International Award[33] Won
Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
The Outsiders Album of the Year Nominated
"Give Me Back My Hometown" Song of the Year (songwriting with Luke Laird) Nominated
2016 Eric Church Entertainer of the Year Nominated
Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
Mr. Misunderstood Album of the Year Nominated
"Mr. Misunderstood" Video of the Year Won
Raise 'Em Up with Keith Urban Vocal Event of the Year Nominated
American Country Awards 2012 Eric Church Artist of the Year: Male Nominated
Touring Artist of the Year Nominated
"Drink in My Hand" Single of the Year Nominated
Single of the Year: Male Nominated
Chief Album of the Year Nominated
"Springsteen" Song of the Year (songwriting with Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell) Won
American Music Awards 2012 Eric Church Favorite Country Male Artist Nominated
2014 The Outsiders Favorite Country Album Won
Billboard Music Awards 2013 "Springsteen" Top Country Song Nominated
BCCMA Awards 2014 "The Outsiders" International Album of the Year Won
Eric Church International Act of the Year Nominated
CMT Music Awards 2013 "Springsteen" Video of the Year Nominated
"Creepin'" Male Video of the Year Nominated
"The Only Way I Know" (with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan) Collaborative Video of the Year Won
"Homeboy" CMT Performance of the Year Nominated
CMA Awards 2011 Eric Church New Artist of the Year Nominated
2012 Eric Church Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
Chief Album of the Year Won
"Springsteen" Single of the Year Nominated
Song of the Year (songwriting with Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell) Nominated
Music Video of the Year Nominated
2013 Eric Church Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
"The Only Way I Know" (with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan) Musical Event of the Year Nominated
2014 Eric Church Male of the Year Nominated
The Outsiders Album of the Year Nominated
"Give Me Back My Hometown" Song of the Year (songwriting with Luke Laird) Nominated
Single of the Year Nominated
2015 Eric Church Entertainer of the Year Nominated
Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
"Talladega" Single of the Year Nominated
"Like a Wrecking Ball" Song of the Year (songwriting with Casey Beathard) Nominated
"Raise 'Em Up" with Keith Urban Musical Event of the Year Won
Grammy Awards 2012 Chief Best Country Album Nominated
2013 "Springsteen" Best Country Solo Performance Nominated
Best Country Song (songwriting with Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell) Nominated
2015 "Give Me Back My Hometown" Best Country Solo Performance Nominated
Best Country Song (songwriting with Luke Laird) Nominated
"Raise 'Em Up" with Keith Urban Best Country Duo/Group Performance Nominated
The Outsiders Best Country Album Nominated


  1. ^ a b Bernstein, Jonathan (November 11, 2015). "Review: Eric Church Retreats From the Dark Side on 'Mr. Misunderstood'". Spin. Retrieved January 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d Ruhlmann, William. "Eric Church biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-12-27. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Deming, Mark. "Platinum review". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "Interview with Autumn House-Tallant". HitQuarters. 3 Oct 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Morris, Edward (2006-08-02). "Church Turns Heads With Sinners Like Me". CMT. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Eric Church to Hold Album Release Party in Boone.". Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  8. ^ a b "Eric Church Lands First No. 1 Album, Amy Winehouse Climbs Into Top 5". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "The Billboard Cover Story – The Gospel According to Eric Church: Thinking Global". Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  10. ^ Giles, Jeff. "Eric Church, "Springsteen"". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  11. ^ "Eric Church, 'Like Jesus Does' – Song Review". Taste of Country. Archived from the original on February 12, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Eric Church Live Album to Hit Stores in 2013". The Boot. September 4, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Eric Church Announces Release Date for First Live Album, 'Caught in the Act'". Taste of Country. February 8, 2013. Archived from the original on February 12, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Eric Church rebels against the Music City machine". Charleston City Paper. December 12, 2012. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Eric Church Finally Finds His Niche, Wins Album of the Year Award at 2012 CMAs". Taste of Country. November 1, 2012. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Kenny Chesney Announces 2013 No Shoes Nation Tour". Taste of Country. November 8, 2012. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  17. ^ "2012 CMT Artists of the Year Revealed". December 9, 2012. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  18. ^ Talbott, Chris (November 4, 2013). "Eric Church set to drop new album, 'The Outsiders,' blow minds at CMAs with metal moment". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2013. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Eric Church Releases Surprise Album 'Mr. Misunderstood'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  21. ^ "Eric Church leads the 2016 ACM Awards with 5 nominations – Eric Church". Eric Church. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Eric Church Welcomes Son Boone McCoy – Moms & Babies – Celebrity Babies and Kids – Moms & Babies –". 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  24. ^ "Eric Church Baby News Brings 'Two Pink Lines' Full Circle". 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  25. ^ "Eric Church Welcomes Second Son Tennessee Hawkins –". 2015-02-19. Retrieved 2015-02-20. 
  26. ^ "Eric Church Marries in North Carolina". CMT News. January 15, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Chief Cares – Eric Church". Eric Church. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  28. ^ "Eric Church talks sunglasses inside & Blake Shelton beef". 
  29. ^ Eric Church /. "Eric Church blazes his own path". Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  30. ^ [1][dead link]
  31. ^ "Eric Church – Musical Influences". YouTube. 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  32. ^ "Eric Church To Headline The 2010 Jagermeister Country Music Tour – NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/". Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  33. ^ "Eric Church – Website". Eric Church. Retrieved 2015-09-29. 

External links[edit]