Eric Church: Melting Pot of Musical Styles


When Eric Church released his single, “Springsteen” a few years ago, I took notice. This from a person that, unlike most of my inner circle, had no interest in a trip downtown to see The Boss in concert. I never really was a fan of his, but Church’s song grabbed me with the lyric, “Funny how a Melody…sounds like a Memory”. Songs are like a time machine that goes right from your ear…to your heart.

“Springsteen” was nominated for 2 Grammy awards and was just one in a string of hits for the North Carolina native. With his trademark aviator glasses, originally put in place because of the stress stage lights put on his contact lenses, Church has released five studio albums for Capitol Nashville. Throw in a Von Dutch Denim Trucker hat and the distinctive look of Church was born.

For Church, it all melts together. Like the music styles that make up his composition. Part Outlaw country…part Southern Rock. Influences include Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr. Still, it wouldn’t be a stretch to find AC/DC, Pantera or Metallica on his IPOD. Like many members of the New Country movement…the impacts are a melting pot of musical styles.

Born Kenneth Eric Church in 1977, the upcoming singer/songwriter bought his first guitar at 13. The bar scene became his unlikely home away from home through high school as Church played Jimmy Buffet cover tunes along with original material. The grind was tough…and sometimes scary. Fights from the stage were not uncommon as he later teamed up with his brother and an Appalachian State University roommate to form a band called the “Mountain Boys”

Churchs’s big leap came with the 2005 single by Terri Clark that he helped co-write…”The World Needs a Drink”…Still a recording contract eluded him as he worked with some of the best producers in Music City. Finally the opportunity came. His first single, “How ‘Bout You” went up to #13 on the Hot County Sons chart and paved the way for a debut album…”Sinners Like Me”.

Since then, Church has been a mainstay with award nominations and won the ACM Video of the Year Award for “Mr. Misunderstood” last month. His latest video for the single, “Record Year” enlists directors John Peets and Reid Long and features teenager McKinley James who starred in the music video for “Mr. Misunderstood” and appears on the cover art of Church’s highly acclaimed album by the same name.

Eric Church headlines The Country Fest on Saturday, June 11th. For more information about The Country Fest, including tickets, camping, parking and general rules go to www.The Country Fest tickets are available online, by phone (330)930-0398 or at The Country Fest box office located in Orrville, Ohio.

By Steve Brown