This past Thursday at City Winery in Nashville, Eric Church performed an acoustic set that completely blew me away. Eric Church not only played a couple of his most decorated songs, but he was able to talk about musical influences, standing out in music, and his view on new music.
If you’ve never been to City Winery then you’re missing out. Anytime you get to Nashville be sure to check out their amazing wines and food! They have artists perform in their large dining area. Each table has an easy view of the stage and I love the idea of dining while hearing some of Nashville’s best perform. It brings both of my favorite things together; country music and food!
Eric Church started the acoustic set by talking to the crowd. His rough voice had a softer edge this particular night, like he was relaxed and just there to have some fun.
When he started “Mr. Misunderstood” everyone started cheering! This was exactly how they wanted this concert to start. His voice soared through the crowd and he completely challenged himself vocally. At one point during the song, Eric Church stopped playing guitar entirely and just let his voice carry. Everyone in the crowd was completely in awe. I had to pinch myself to make sure this wasn’t actually a dream.
After the song ended, he brought up his two kids and how they related to the song “Mr. Misunderstood.” He remembers growing up and being the rebel or different, but he was just misunderstood. As he sees his kids grow up, Eric Church knows that he just wants them to be different and to embrace what makes them different.
He then trailed off to one of my favorite songs “Carolina.” He completely lost himself in this song because it reminds him of younger days and a time when he was gone all the time. Eric Church just wanted to slow it all down and in this moment, that’s exactly what he did. It was as if City Winery stopped. This was something I’ll never forget.
Once the song finished, the crowd roared and he took a moment to thank everyone for this life he’s been given. There were some questions about his musical influences, so he talked about how R&B and soul developed his unique sound in the country music genre. He grew up listening to both genres because of his parents. He loved the rhythms and sounds that created his music that we know today. Eric Church also talked about his two guitars that he never leaves. The first one was a hummingbird dark and he designed it! You could tell how proud he was of that guitar; it was completely made for him. On the other side, was a guitar that was hanging in his producer’s office that he instantly fell in love with. He made a bet with his producer that if his album Chief went double-platinum (something that had he never achieved) then his producer would give him that guitar. They shook on it and now that guitar never leaves his side.
This led him into the next song “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young.” My favorite lines in the song are “This morning I turned 36 And you just remember half of it, you wonder how you out-lived Hank or Jesus.” I don’t think a lyric has ever hit me harder. He paused for a moment to let the song sink in and reiterated his reoccurring theme: live in the moment.
Eric Church was really in his element. He let loose and really became vulnerable during this show. It was a side of him that I had never witnessed before. Eric Church also highlighted that he loves female talent, especially because we don’t get to hear enough of it. Every song on the Mr. Misunderstood album that featured someone was a female. He believes that female voices add texture to a song.
He also performed a song that he took a risk by releasing it. I’m sure you can guess, which one! As “Wrecking Ball” started playing people in the audience started singing along. He seemed to derive energy from the crowd and loved how they knew every word.
He talked to the crowd about how he writes and enjoys writing with other people. If he’s writing by himself, it usually takes a lot longer to get the song finished. Eric Church lauged as he told us he can’t seem to get past the third verse when writing.
The last song Eric Church played was “These Boots” off of Sinners Like Me. The song shows us yet another vulnerable side of the singer and it leaves us with an overwhelming theme of when a girl leaves the guy. You can see this in a lot of his music! He drowned out the guitar with his voice and hung on each word.
To say I wanted the night to go on forever would be an understatement. Eric Church spoiled the crowd with such grace and vulnerability. His acoustic show is a must see! I still can’t believe the night we had and City Winery was the perfect place to set the mood.