“I Wrote Songs” – Eric Church On How He Got Through The Darkest Moments Of His Life Following Route 91 & The Death Of His Brother

Eric Church country music
CBS Mornings

When Eric Church started facing incredible hardships, he turned to the one thing that he knew he could do to give himself comfort.

Starting in the summer of 2017, country music’s rebel artist faced a flurry of unfortunate life events, starting first with his own health scare in June. Church found out that he had a potentially deadly blood clot in his chest, and like anyone would be, he was frightened by it. Especially because it could have become fatal at any moment, and they fortunately learned of it at just the right time.

Though he underwent emergency surgery and came through okay on the other side, he told CBS Mornings that it was still a life altering event:

“It was the first time in my life I had evaluated my own mortality, one, but then a lot of other people’s mortality too.”

It took the “Chief” months to recover from the blood clot surgery, and when he was finally able to get back to playing music in front of large crowds, tragedy struck there too. Church’s first show back was in September of 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Eric played on one of the earlier days of the event, which later became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. It was at that festival where a lone gunmen opened fire from a Las Vegas high rise, killing 59 people and injuring over 500.

Church was obviously shaken to his core from that as well:

“I watched people that night hold up boots and sing at the top of their lungs, and then two days later, it was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. I had a lot of fans that had stayed over for the weekend to see all the shows that got killed. 

Something about it just kind of broke me. I think it was the sense of what music has been for my life with the safe space part of it. I think shattering that shattered a part of me. That was and still is a tough thing.”

Then early on in 2018, Church’s younger brother Brandon tragically passed away after having complications stemming from a seizure. His brother played an important role in his music career, and was one of the few people who kept pushing Eric to pursue music even when it wasn’t going well in the beginning.

In a period of 8 months, Eric Church was tested time and time again, and as he explained in the interview, there was only one thing that helped him cope through those difficult times:

“I went through a period there… lot of darkness in that period. 8 months of (being) pretty dark. I got through like everything else I’ve gotten through in my life. I turned to the one thing I know I can do. I wrote songs.”

And it’s those songs that now have a home at his brand new downtown Nashville bar “Chief’s.” Many of the songs that he wrote during and after that dark period have never made it to an album, and Church is finally sharing them during his 19-show residency at his very own place on Broadway:

“What I’m trying to show with the residency here is that it was really the songwriting and the songs that nobody’s heard. That I’ve never put on a record because it was too personal, it was too close. I’m gonna play those, and I’m going to say, ‘This is what got me through.'”

With as intimate as the venue is at Chief’s, Church’s run of shows was always going to be special. But it’s made that much more special with the personal, transparent songs he’s sharing each and every night.

You can listen to the full interview with Eric Church below:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock