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Eric Church coming to town

Nov. 28, 2012 @ 09:39 PM

Eric Church came up through the ranks of the music business like a lot of artists in country music, by starting small and building a loyal fan base. But when it came to recording his latest album called "Chief," Church threw the dice and hit for the fences, trying to stir up the music industry with new music with attitude.

A North Carolina native, Church began recording his own songs in 2006, creating a buzz mostly due to his high-energy live shows. Three albums later, Church and his team decided to rise above opening act status and book a headlining tour for the first time behind his latest album "Chief," which has sold more than a million copies. The "Blood, Sweat and Beers" tour comes to the Big Sandy Superstore Arena this Saturday evening, Dec. 1.

Opening up for Church will be Justin Moore and Kip Moore. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $42.50 and $37.50. More information can be found at www.bigsandyarena.com.

"I took about a month off and went to a cabin in North Carolina," said Church, about how he wrote the songs for "Chief."

"We've always blazed our own trail, and I was trying to figure out where it needed to go and, honestly, I wasn't sure," he added. "So, I didn't go anywhere for a month. Writers came out and we just wrote songs all day and all night. That really stoked the creative flame. Then, I spent the next six months on tour writing whenever I could."

Church's latest album began to get accolades a year ago, yet it was a recent night in Nashville when one of his dreams came true. Church's relationship with the music industry in Music City U.S.A. has been uneven and at times contentious, mainly because he willingly and admittedly straddles the line between rock and country when it comes to his sound. But at the 2012 Country Music Association (CMAs) Awards, he unexpectedly won a big nod.

"I have a huge chip on my shoulder," said Church to the Associated Press, as the CMAs were approaching. "I got that from how we got here, and I think it's a good thing. When I walk on the stage, I carry all the times that other artists got other things, we couldn't get a song played because of who we were versus the song's merits, or the times we had to play 12, 13 days and still were broke."

Then as the CMA Awards show got under way, Church found himself as surprised as everyone else when his name was called for the Album of the Year honor.

"I spent a lot of my career wondering where I fit in: Too country, too rock?" said Church, as he accepted the award. "Thank you for giving me somewhere to hang my hat tonight."

For more proof of Church's hard-earned popularity, his official video for the hit song "Springsteen" has garnered nearly six and a half million views on YouTube. His official video for the songs "Drink In My Hand" and "Homeboy" have both received more than six million hits as well.

When the "Blood, Sweat and Beers" tour ends, Church has said that he wants to take some time off to write new music and see where his creativity takes him.

"I have a theory that all of us only get a small window of time to make records when people will really listen and care," he said. "It's up to us to move the needle. People like Waylon (Jennings) and (Johnny) Cash or Garth (Brooks) and (George) Strait -- they all took the format and said 'We're going over here,' and they all changed the direction of the music a little bit."

It was recently announced that Church will have a coveted high-profile slot on the Kenny Chesney 2013 "No Shoes Nation" tour. That massive road show will only happen in big-city stadiums next summer, so this Saturday might be the best chance to rock out to Church's hard-charging country rock sounds.

Kickin' up the country

WHAT: Country music superstar Eric Church brings in his "Blood, Sweat and Beers" tour with openers Justin Moore and Kip Moore.

DID YOU KNOW? The North Carolina native Church, who has performed twice before in Huntington, won album of the year for his million-selling CD, "Chief."

WHERE: Big Sandy Superstore Arena

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1

HOW MUCH: $42.50 and $37.50

GET TICKETS: The Big Sandy Superstore Arena box office and all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000

WHAT ELSE: The 36th annual Lions Arts and Crafts Festival is set for this weekend, Friday through Sunday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena Conference Center. Hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.

ON THE WEB: www.bigsandyarena.com.

ON DECK @ THE ARENA: Dec. 15, Huntington Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Memories with The Lettermen; Jan. 11-12, 25th anniversary of Toughman; Jan. 27, WKEE Bridal Expo, Feb. 1, RV/Boat Show; March 1, Little Big Town, and March 6, The Harlem Globetrotters.


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