Eric Church’s career is on fire. He’s had back-to-back No. 1 hits with “Drink In My Hand” and “Springsteen”; he’s headlining one of the hottest tours around; and he leads this year’s CMA Awards nominations with five, including Male Vocalist and Album of the Year for Chief. While he’s excited about the recognition, he would have been fine with not receiving a single nod.
“I can say this honestly and truthfully: I’m thrilled that we got five nominations,” he told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette. “If we got zero nominations, I would still do what we do. I can’t make my focus awards and these things, but I have no control, so I try to control what I can control, which is making the best record we can make and making sure we put on the best live show, and whatever happens after that happens.”
Eric cites everyone from Garth Brooks and Kris Krisofferson to The Band and Bruce Springsteen as an influence. Finding the place where his distinct, rock-tinged sound fits in hasn’t been easy. “There was a time early on in our career where we were too rock for country and too country for rock,” he said. “We were in this area where we didn’t really know where we belonged.”
One of the highlights in his career has been receiving a letter from Bruce Springsteen himself. Written on the back of a set list, the letter praised Eric’s single, “Springsteen.” The piece of paper instantly became one of Eric’s most prized possessions. He values it so much that he doesn’t even look at it.
“It was one of those things where he’s a guy that I revere,” Eric told the paper. “He’s a guy where, it doesn’t matter what kind of genre you listen to, there is no genre when it comes to Springsteen, and I’ve always respected and admired that. I’ve always respected how he’s done his career. So to get a personal note from him on the back of a set list saying he’s a fan of the song and that he hoped our paths crossed, just a really sweet note, it meant the absolute world to me and will always mean the world to me. I’ve got it in a safe place and I’m scared to pull it out and look at it, that’s how much I revere it.”
“Springsteen” is the second No. 1 of Eric’s career. The song is also up for Song and Single of the Year at November’s CMA Awards as well as Video of the Year. While Eric knew it was a special song, he didn’t expect it to take off the way it did.
“When I heard the song back the first time in the studio, I could immediately remember the first concert amphitheater, I could smell the grass, I was there,” he said. “I knew if it could do that with me, it had a chance with everybody. I knew it was special. I just didn’t know it would go on to be the hit it was. Nobody knows that. If they say that, they’re lying to you.”