Up-And-Comer Eric Church Excited to Play Austin City Limits

March 18, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  51 Comments

eric-churchFor going on 40 years, Austin City Limits has been the one safe haven for substantive music performances on television, using the prestige of their program to lift up many artists worthy of a wider audience, but artists that are unfortunately not graced by the attention of mainstream radio. Originally established to be a visual companion to Jan Reed’s groundbreaking book Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock that set out to chronicle the formation and continued legacy of Austin’s music scene, and as a program that resides on public television, commercial concerns are an afterthought to Austin City Limits behind doing their duty to the local music community and shining a spotlight on undiscovered and deserving talent.

It is in this spirit that Austin City Limits has slated a scrappy young country music artist to appear during their latest season. Though you may have never heard of him, all that might change after he makes his Austin City Limits debut. His name is Eric Church, and despite only winning the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards for Album of the Year once, and having only sold roughly 3.5 million albums, the native North Carolinian has a promising future ahead of him, especially with ACL’s help.

“Since ‘Austin City Limits’ is a PBS program and their funding partially comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and from donations from viewers like you, they don’t have to worry as much about ratings and sponsors, and can reach down to give exposure to a deserving artist like Church,” says Eric Church representative Elizabeth Frankenfurter. “Though they have brought on big corporate sponsors over the last few years like Budweiser and Lexus, it’s clear with their selection of Church for the new season that corporate sponsorship concerns do not go into the selection of performing artists. If ‘Austin City Limits’ started selecting bigger names to showcase on their program, artists like Eric Church would be locked out of the opportunity to be presented to thousands of appreciative and attentive music fans that otherwise may not know about him.”

Eric Church joins other acts like Dave Matthews Band, Cheap Trick, Pearl Jam, Tim McGraw, and Radiohead that were thrusted into the public spotlight because of their Austin City Limits opportunity. “It’s such an honor for me to play on the same stage that Texas legends such as Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Wayne “The Train” Hancock have played,” a press release quoted Eric Church as saying, but a check of the Austin City Limits archive shows that despite their important status to Austin music, neither Ray Wylie Hubbard nor Wayne Hancock have been awarded their own Austin City Limits show like Eric Church.

Eric’s latest album release is called The Outsiders—a testament to his underdog status in the industry. Hopefully his Austin City Limits appearance puts this “outsider” on the inside track to success in country music.

51 Comments to “Up-And-Comer Eric Church Excited to Play Austin City Limits”

  • He’d better be careful–too much exposure will jeopardize his Outsider status.

    • How the hell is Eric Church labeled an ‘outlaw’? I’ve been listening to him for awhile now and everything about him is so poppy catchy lame ass bullshit. Nothing outlaw bout being southern pop, dude.. An outsider? lmfao.

      I tell you, the one outlaw I know musically is Ryan Bingham. He’s definetly gone “hollywood” over the past album but to ditch your record label, create your own for musical freedom and have a life story that is bout as country, rugged outlaw as it gets; quite a stretch for Church to be considered any type of outsider.

      Ryan Bingham life story is amazing- my buddies and I will have a few beers and look up an article about Bingham and read some of his stories. Absolutely insane.

      -Drug alcoholic parents in Texas(both of whom passed due to alcoholism) that left him traveling all over Texas growing up.

      – Left home at like 18(if I remember right) and traveled the rodeo circuit trying to make ends meet while playing guitar in truck stops

      – Leaving the US for Paris,France at 21 to join the Disney Euro-Cowboy Indians tour. Gets there, guy he was supposed to replace doesn’t get fired and he only had enough money for a one way ticket to Paris. So he’s homeless, navajo Indians who heard bout him invite him to crash at there place in Paris- so he busks in Paris subways to make enough money to fly home to Texas.

      – Played for a bar that had the main act as Mice Races… Yes, the dudes band and him opened up for Mice to race in a friggin track.

      -Live in van for a few years with bandmates playing in bowling alleys and shithole dive bars in New Mexico

      Sorry, just read this crap bout Eric Chuch and his outsider image.. What a friggin joke.

  • Hey. I’ve heard of that guy…

  • Poor little feller, I hope things work out for him.

  • HAHAHA! I do love the rants, but snarky, sarcastic pieces like this are awesome too. :D

  • How ’bout dem Frankenfurters! They are everywhere!

    • They are a very industrious family.

  • I believe many of you think that everybody in the nation pays as much attention to country music as you guys do. If you do not listen to country radio, or watch much television, there is a solid chance you may not know who Eric Church is. Not everyone keeps tabs on country music artists like some of you may think. Sure he’s huge to people who follow the genre, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people he can reach through ACL. I think this is great, and to anyone that doesn’t like it, find something else to watch when it airs.

    • Trollllllllllllllllllll
      Here’s some attention for you troley.
      Very troll-Tastic comment.
      Did you troll-like your own comment?

      • Nice response jimbo

    • And for those of us that do follow country music closely, we are sick of hearing about
      EC and the rest of pack who are Not country but killing the genre.
      I could care less that all these twits exist except that they are called country and have the nerve to call themselves such. EC takes it a step further to blow his own horn about his greatness, call himself and Outlaw and continue to wear shades indoors like a true asshole.
      Disappointing to hear that ACL’s is going to be having him on, but, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised either.

  • I hope they give that up and comer Luke Bryan a spot on the show too!

    • They need to bring on both Luke AND Jason so they can show off their twinsy corporate sponsor tats! Those guys are so underrated!

  • Trigger, if it wasn’t for the comments, I would not have known what to make of this article. I was lost. Man, your propensity for sarcasm is like a bottomless pit.

    • Your first clue should have been the “Up-and-Comer” distinction in the title ;)

  • I think ACL has lost their way. Going back to Gary P. Nunn’s “home with the armadillo” no longer being the theme song for ACL, things have changed and not for the better. Yes ocasionally they do something right like showcasing Dale Watson. However, to have Eric Church on before RWH and Wayne the Train among others, is just plain wrong. Maybe moving into the bigger venue influences these kind of choices, I am not sure. Bottom line the folks in charge at ACL seem to have strayed quite a bit from the original intent of the show. Frankly, the Eric Church’s of the world do not need publclly funded community outlets like ACL they have the Nashvile marketing machine and corporate America to market their product.

    • Trig you are the man ! You got me hook, line and sinker.

      • Well, Eric Church IS going to be on ACL. According to The Boot, it will be on 9/23.

  • ACL could finally give his career a real shot in the arm! This could be just the boost he needs to go as big as Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons.


  • I appreciate the humor, I really do, and I also understand the message so forgive this serious post.

    I still appreciate ACL featuring Eric Church. I’ve heard that he gives a good show and I have a feeling this taping might make it’s way into my DVD collection, along with both Merle Haggard episodes and the Waylon Jennings from 1984 and the John Prine if I can find it.

    I still see ACL as a positive thing but I do wish they’d feature more local texas music especially country music. Although he didn’t have his own show, Wayne Hancock has appeared on ACL. I’m not sure why Hubbard hasn’t been on, he should be.

  • You know Trigger I have no love for Eric Church but it might be a nice setting for him. He’s far from the first main stream award winner that’s been on ACL and that acoustic version he did of “Like Jesus Does” on the ACM awards last year was pretty nice.

    If you were going to take ACL to task for anything they’ve done lately it really should have been them having F.U.N. on not so long ago (a straight up pop band). It just didn’t feel right at all, and the lead singer of that band (Nate Ruess) has some serious singing issues.

  • He got picked to play Austin City Limits, good for him he’s a musician and just like all musicians probably enjoys playing music for an audience. Now let’s take that and try to find any negative points or ways that we can make fun of Eric Church….

    • I don’t see how Eric Church is being made fun of or even criticized in this particular piece. It seems like the real target is ACL, which Trigger has criticized in the past in various comment sections for drifting from their original charter.

  • “Eric Church joins other acts like Dave Matthews Band…and Radiohead that were thrusted into the public spotlight because of their Austin City Limits opportunity.” Trig, you crack me up, you ol’ scamp!

    In addition to the curious case of why RWH still hasn’t had an ACL appearance (his guest spot on Hayes Carll’s notwithstanding), I’m sure that Eric Church’s performance will be released on one of those nifty ACL Live DVDs soon after the show, unlike the many Townes Van Zandt performances that have yet to see the light of day, for whatever reason(s).

  • Dude you have no idea what you are talking about. You are a blithering idiot, just because someone is successful has nothing to do with their “outlaw” status. Eric church is a badass.

    • “Now is that a real poncho or is that a Sears poncho?”

      – Frank Zappa

      • Hmmmmm, no fooling?

    • Sure he’s a badass. You know how I know he’s a badass? Because he says he is. All the time. If fact, he’s such a badass that he’s probably lying about being a badass which is what badasses like Eric Church do.

      And if you need futher proof of his badassary beyond the fact that he says he is, just check out the high school talent show video.

      • You act like you know Eric church, I think he’s our only hope. He beats FGL and Luke Bryan by a long shot, I think his cocky attitude is a good thing.

        • Saying Eric Church is our only hope is like saying jumping off a cliff is our only hope of not getting eaten by a mountain lion.

  • Just because Kacey Musgraves won a Grammy for country album of the year does that not make her an up and coming artist or an “outsider”? I read your stuff all the time and some of it makes sense and then other articles sound so contradicting. If you think you can save country music then why don’t you do something about it? I read one of your articles about Eric church and how he is an arrogant prick by calling out other artists, and how that doesnt make him an outlaw.You said that Johnny Cash was a humble person? Johnny cash was a raging drug addict, but yeah he was a really a nice guy. And he wrote a song about killing a man??? Arrogant doesn’t even describe that. I would say more like sadistic. You might want to think before you write stuff. I do believe that country rap is a big thing right now and it makes me sick, but you might want to get your facts straight before you start accusing people.

    • 1) Kacey Musgraves was booked on Austin City Limits before even being nominated for a Grammy, and taped her appearance on Austin City Limits before winning a Grammy.

      2) Kacey Musgraves is from Texas.

      3) Kacey Musgraves has probably a 1/3rd of the concert draw of Eric Church, and probably about a 1/3rd of the sales reach and radio play.

      “If you think you can save country music then why don’t you do something about it?”

      Okay, I’ll do that.

      Good luck in finding an audience in your pursuit of painting Johnny Cash as a man of lesser moral character than Eric Church.

      • Trigger, this article was very funny. Loved the sarcasm here. This helps me understand the meaning of the slogan “Keep Austin Weird”, by illustrating how authenticity is lost as Austin’s cultural institutions become more mainstream and commercial.

      • Kasey is a great artist, singer/songwriter and a pretty face. She’s got talent, but she doesn’t and won’t ever have a stage presence comparable to Eric Church. Have you ever seen Eric Church live??

        • I agree Tara, and that is why Kacey is more suited to Austin City Limits than Eric Church. Austin City Limits is designed for artists like Kacey that will likely never be able to sell out stadiums on their own name, that don’t put on some huge show. And every time a stadium act gets and ACM slot, that is another artist that won’t get a chance in that ACL spotlight, which might be the biggest spotlight they ever achieve.

    • You know, that ACL episode with Kacey Musgraves was probably my favorite one so far this year. It was her in the first half and Dale Watson in the second half. They set up a dance floor area for Dale in front of the stage for that episode and there was a short interview with Dale at the end of the show where he explained why he thought the term “Country Music” had been perverted beyond repair.

      Two Texans singing country music in one episode (with dancing).

      • Now THAT was an awesome show. Loved how Kacey started with “The Trailer Song,” and Dale’s set was so fun. :D

    • “And he wrote a song about killing a man?????”

      He also recorded a song about killing a woman (Delia’s Gone). Not sure if he wrote that one, though.

      At least Cash didn’t sing like he has a dip in his mouth or slur his words like Church does. Maybe I’m old fashioned and out-of-date, but it seems like musical talent should come into play at some point.

  • That’s all nice, but……………….what about George Strait?

    Where’s all the love for the twelfth highest-selling American music artist of all time, three-time CMA Entertainer of the Year, 44 #1 hit and 70 million album sale accumulating, Country Music Hall of Fame-inducted King of Country? Some nerve they have! >=(

  • paint by numbers wanna be Music Row manufactured ‘Outlaw’.



  • I have never been convinced by Eric Church’s “outsider” image. Sure, many people are outsiders. But they are not celebrities. They are not signed to major record labels. And they don’t record songs with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. Most real outsiders just quietly do their own thing away from the limelight.

    I think this is a guy who wants to be a rock star. His followers are people who aspire to be more popular than they are (if only the “in crowd” would finally understand who they are and let them in), just as Taylor Swift fans are girls who want to be more popular than they are.

  • Though I can’t stand Eric Church or his music, I know that he’s definitely not the first artist with his level of popularity playing ACL Live. Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings all played ACL Live way after they were up and comers.

  • Bragging about kicking a security guard? On Sunday Morning Television? Is this real?

  • The Facebook page called “we hate pop country” features a picture of johnny cash flipping off the crowd ( what a humble person). I think i might ask him to babysit. The guy was an arrogant douchebag. But his music was awesome . I’ve been a church fan since ” sinners like me” and I see a guy with a chip on his shoulder. He wants to offer something different, I like when he produces songs like ” that’s damn rock and roll” because he’s pushing the envelope. If ” give me back my hometown” is as mainstream as someone gets then I give him/her all the credit in the world….especially when songs like “chillin it” are dominating the radio. O and I know you hated it when he called out Blake Shelton for being a reality show pansy so I’ll give you a great quote from the true outlaw Merle haggard / waylon Jennings/ marketing for actual outlaw country music…. “Garth brooks did to country music, what pantyhose did for finger fucking”….. hmmmmm what a civil guy. Very humble too, look man you have a great point with country rap, it sucks. But you should probably check your shit first before you start spewing it off.

    • I understand the points you’re trying to make, and I am certainly not trying to say anyone, including myself, has a squeaky clean past. But that is not the point either. In fact I’ll give you the point that Eric Church has probably done less “bad” things in his life, but all this does is refute the image he’s trying to portray.

      There were a couple of inaccuracies in the things you said:

      Johnny Cash never flipped off a crowd. Here’s the story about the famous bird-flipping picture:

      As for the panty hose quote, I have been at the forefront in attributing that quote to anyone. It’s been attributed to many, but if anyone said it originally, it might have been Podie Locke.

      I want to like Eric Church, and have given him many positive reviews here over the years. And it does me know good here politically or popularity-wise to criticize him, because there’s a lot of overlap between what I preach, and his core fans. But I’m not going to lie about my opinions either. And this specific article was much more a criticism of Austin City Limits than Church. What, is he supposed to tell them “no”?

      If you like Eric Church, that’s all that matters. I respect that.

      • Thank you trigger man! I do like Eric church’s music. Its an alternative to the garbage I hear on country radio these days. Is he a little cocky and arrogant? Yeah for sure, but his music makes up for it . Does he have a few duds? Absolutely. But his duds beat songs like “chillin it” any day of the week. I think him calling out reality TV was an important statement for the future of country music even if it did hurt Mr and Mrs Shelton’s feelings.

  • You can tell I read your stuff all the time can’t you??? I’m a diehard reader and I find your stuff very interesting. You make a lot of good points.

  • no….please no….

  • Wow, I feel bad for Eric. I love his music and I understand that everyone has their own opinion, by seriously!? Give the man a break! I can’t believe the way u people talk about him! My gosh. GET A LIFE. and have a little respect!

  • Man u piss me off.

  • I’ve known Eric since 2002, long before all this.
    He worked for his dream and made it.
    Research all his writing and music.
    He has every right to do ACL. Maybe he “wants”
    to do it to break free of all shit talk about
    him and show he’s real. There have been huge
    names on that show as well as unknowns.
    Such a waste of talking about people.

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