Church is one of the biggest artists in country music, but he conducts his career like an artist who's more under the radar, taking an uncompromising stance on his music and the way he presents himself. He has a real blue collar work ethic when it comes to his celebrated live shows, going out and serving his audiences in a live setting and making sure that every audience gets the best show he can give them.
Church had one of the biggest tours of the year with his Holdin' My Own Tour despite the fact that his most recent album, Mr. Misunderstood, was released in 2015, and he's also still spinning hits from that project. His continued relevance in every aspect of his career is just part of the reason Eric Church deserves to win Entertainer of the Year at the 2017 CMA Awards.
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Church is a superstar, but he runs his career like some hipster indie artist. He doesn't seem to take radio's needs into consideration at all, sending out hard-sell songs like "Kill a Word" and making country radio react to him, instead of the other way around. That kind of bold artistry is exactly what we should be celebrating in an Entertainer of the Year.
Church's Holdin' My Own Tour was one of the biggest successes of the year, featuring the superstar in a massive set with no opening act and an intermission. You never know exactly what you're going to get at an Eric Church concert; the singer works hard to rotate different songs and covers in and out of his set, making each show a one-of-a-kind experience for fans.
Church is undeniably great live, but he's also great on record. He's the only artist in country music who would write, record and release songs like "Mr. Misunderstood," "Kill a Word" and "Round Here Buzz" to country radio, and that deeper slant to his work only serves to strengthen his bond with his audience.
All of the artists nominated for Entertainer of the Year in 2017 are deserving, but Church is the coolest of the lot. His leather jacket, aviator shades and general see-if-I-care attitude are a refreshing change from the middle-of-the-road blandness of so much mainstream country music.
His Special Fan Relationship
Church is in a class by himself when it comes to the strong bond he has with his biggest fans, who are called the Church Choir. He goes well out of his way to make sure they get special access to new music and live dates, and he's absolutely adamant that they not get ripped off by scalpers, putting complex systems in place to combat unauthorized ticket sales. Add to that the tremendous effort he puts into his live shows, and it produces the kind of enduring bond that deserves Entertainer of the Year recognition.