10 Coolest Items in Eric Church’s Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit [Pictures]
The new Eric Church exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame is a treasure chest for his longtime fans.
So many of the moments you've heard stories about are brought to life across the long museum hallway. The singer embraced the emotions and nostalgia of it all.
Eric Church: Country Heart, Restless Soul (presented by Gibson) doesn't shy away from the painful moments in his personal life and career. Exploring his journey means exploring how those lows provided friction for him to launch to new highs. A sequence of artifacts around his infamous firing from the Rascal Flatts tour are an example of this.
As Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young described the incident from 2006, Church smiled and laughed, standing a few paces behind and to Young's left. The bitter has been removed from the bittersweet experience.
"I will say that there is something to doing it your own way, and you can still get to where you want to go if you do it that way," Church said to close his remarks at a media and VIP preview on Wednesday night (July 12) in Nashville.
Taylor Swift famously replaced Church on the Flatts tour, taking her own young career to new heights. The note she wrote him later, thanking him, is among the highlights on display. Below you'll find 10 can't-miss items in Church's exhibit, plus photos of all of the rest.
Walk the exhibit from left to right to understand Church's path chronologically. Old yearbook photos and moments captured with his early ensembles (including one with his late brother, Brandon) add a boyish charm to his often intimidating presence. He'd not yet become "Chief." He'd not yet been turned down by nearly every publishing house on Music Row.
One can almost feel a chip on his shoulder turn into his edge over the final three-fourths of the display. Personal letters, handwritten lyrics and famous outfits are spread out with effective descriptions. You'll find the jacket and American flag scarf he wore in the "Springsteen" video, as well as the purple suede jacket he wore while performing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Several pairs of boots — including the pair that inspired "These Boots" — rest down low.
Old setlists are an essential part of understanding Eric Church as an artist. No two are the same, because no two Church concerts are the same. Ticket stubs, fan tributes, custom show posters and music video treatments round out the professional moments.
There are a dozen spots to stop and linger on, and photos show Church did just that while touring the exhibit with his wife Katherine and their two sons, Boone and Hawk.
"The best part about it for me," Church shared, "both of my kids ... they grew up on the tour bus. And when you're in the tornado and you're going through it, you forget all these things that happen. And to be beside my boys tonight as we walk through — and we went through those tidbits — when they were one or two or three, they just don't remember that. That was my favorite part of this entire exhibit, experiencing it again with them."
Eric Church: Country Heart, Restless Soul will remain open through June 2024. In addition, Church is the 2023 artist in residence at the CMHOF. This includes two sold-out shows at the CMA Theater on Aug. 29 and Aug. 30.