“I was going to find a way to make it work,” Eric Church says of his career plans in Origins: Eric Church, premiering Sunday, July 8, 9 p.m. Eastern on Great American Country (GAC). “And if it didn’t work, I was still going to be able to sleep at night. I stuck to my guns, right or not.” After a slow, steady, focused build over more than seven years, it most certainly did work for the chart-topping singer/songwriter.
Eric’s story begins in Granite Falls, NC, and is told in this special by his parents, sister, wife, producer, manager, agent and his label’s former president. Upon moving to Nashville, there were struggles to get heard followed by countless rejections before landing a record deal with Capitol Records Nashville. “It’s always been about him and the music,” said Mike Dungan, former CEO/president of Capitol Records Nashville. “He’s just an incredible craftsman and comes to the table with maybe 40, 50 songs for every record he makes.”
He chose an unconventional path, opting to tirelessly hit the road and perform more than 200 dates per year in an effort to build a fan base. “You go out and you build it on the road before you get any of that other success. I mean, I still feel like all acts should have to do that,” he notes. One particular show that stands out in his memory is Amarillo, TX, where eight people – including the wait staff – were in attendance.
“Our plan’s always been different,” says Eric. “It was along the way that I think I found myself as a performer because I had to. We planted seeds with the music that turned to passion, which ended up turning into these crops down the line.” Defying the norm became his norm.
Viewers will also enjoy live performances of several of Eric’s hits including “Drink In My Hand,” (a recent No. 1), “Springsteen,” (a two-week No. 1) “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Homeboy,” “These Boots,” and “Like Jesus Does.”
“Because he’s believed in something different and stayed on that path, he’s brought people to him,” longtime producer Jay Joyce says, “instead of pandering to them and losing himself in the process.”