Saturday, March 19, 2011


Eric Church sat down with us on Friday morning to talk about a number of exciting things, including his Academy of Country Music award for Top New Solo Artist. He's now nominated for Top New Artist, competing against The Band Perry in a fan-voted award. But the same weekend as the ACM Awards, the NCAA Basketball Final Four championship will take place in Houston. Eric said if his favorite team, the North Carolina Tarheels, make it, he will commute between cities.

I’m a basketball nerd. Two years ago, when Carolina won the national championship, I watched it from a hotel room in Vegas. And here’s what broke my heart: I had a chance to have suite passes in Detroit, and I was stuck in Las Vegas. This year, I can get to Houston on Saturday, and get back to Vegas for the show on Sunday.

This is a unique experience because not many artists can go on an awards show having already won Top New Solo Artist. That takes a lot of pressure off. I like having won that award because we won it our own way. I’ve not had #1 songs. We’ve been different. I’m proud we got here, and I’m proud it’s fan voted. That’s why we won.

I’m competitive. I want to win every award a guy can win, then change to falsetto and win the Female Vocalist awards. I like The Band Perry, so it’s bittersweet that one of us will have to lose. I sent them a text and said, “I’ll vote for you if you vote for me.” The way I see it is I net two extra votes. But we get to play on the show and see what happens. I don’t make music to win awards, because if I have to change who I am to win awards, it’s a disservice to the music.


Toby Keith was in Nashville a couple weeks ago to unveil his own personal brand of Mezcal tequila, Wild Shot. He held a press conference at the BMI building on Music Row, where he explained his new product:

The question on a lot of minds is, why mezcal?

There has been a surge in the mezcal market. It's easy to get another tequila, but not many people are doing anything with mezcal. I saw the success my friend Sammy Hagar has had with Cabo Wabo, so instead of being a competitor in the tequila market, I wanted to do as I always do and get in on the ground floor where there is a lot of room for growth.

Will Wild Shot come complete with a worm at the bottom of the bottle?

Oh yeah, you don't want to miss out on that! You don't want to be the last guy holding the bottle either. They say the worm causes visions, but I think it's just reaching the bottom of bottle. If you're there when that happens, I don't think the worm has that much to do with it. [laughs]

Your latest single, 'Somewhere Else,' has a different feel to it. You've described the guy in it as 'the biggest loser in the world.' What made you choose it as a single now?

'Somewhere Else' is the third single off my album 'Bullets in the Gun,' and it is my favorite thing on the album. It's different from anything I've done, but at same time we didn't feel it was the right song to pull as the first single. After touring and and seeing the reaction to it, it makes you proud as a songwriter when you get that melody and word play going on. It's got a real homey, organic feel to the lyric, like you're singing about your neighbor. It's got a light feel to it, but it's about a serious issue. It's one of my favorite things I wrote last year and I am happy for it to get out.

The production sounds a little different for you, too.

When we were recording it, we wanted to take time to create its own vibe. We muted a harmonica and really spent a lot of time trying to create almost a percussion track out of the harmonic and drum sticks. I knew it would be single, so we spent more time than usual trying to create a different vibe for it.

You're nominated for ACM Entertainer of the Year. How do you feel about fans voting for the honor?
It's wonderful to have fans vote on Entertainer of the Year these last several years. I haven't been an award-friendly guy, and I kind of gave up on them years ago. I said all along if you let the fans vote, no one can complain. If you don't get nominated or don't win, you can't gripe. There's no place for politics playing into music. It's a fan-based industry; we all survive off our fans. I told a young man that we just signed the other night that all we can do is put our music out there and then it's up to the fans. Putting politics into it never made sense to me. If you don't win or get nominated, then work a little harder next year.


Trace Adkins returns to this silver screen this weekend, appearing in "The Lincoln Lawyer," a new movie starring Matthew McConaughey. In it, Trace plays Eddie Vogel, the leader of a biker gang who needs a lawyer. Enter McConaughey in a mobile office, the back seat of a Lincoln Town Car. Trace actually met Matthew last year at the ACM awards: "I've met him a few times and as long as he's not playing his bongos naked, we'll be OK."

Trace is actually only in the movie briefly, at the begining and end. But he makes his time count. So as the leader of a biker gang, does Trace actually beat someone up? "I oversee and direct a beating but I don't personally take part. I've got people who do that for me now, Lon. I just point out the victims."

Trace and his wife Rhonda attended the movie premiere, along with McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, and more.