Eric Church On Near-Death Experience, Loss And Healing Through Music

By Kelly Fisher

April 23, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

Eric Church opened up about the challenges he’s endured throughout his life that led to creating a safe environment — where he’ll perform deeply personal, never-before-heard songs — at Chief’s, his bar that opened earlier this month on Lower Broadway in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

Church met with Jan Crawford at Chief’s for a new interview on CBS Mornings. During that interview, the North Carolina-born country star explained he wanted the six-story behemoth to serve as “a place that I could show up at, no cell phones, no recorders that I could be in a living room setting, and I could play songs that didn't make albums.”

The Heart & Soul star reflected on evaluating life differently after enduring a near-death experience in 2017. Church said a doctor discovered a blood clot, and he underwent emergency and a months-long recovery process. Shortly after returning to the stage, the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, two days after Church performed there. That tragedy “broke me,” Church said on CBS Mornings, and went on to reflect on suddenly losing his brother less than one year later. That sent Church into a period of “darkness,” he told Crawford. Church said he copes with challenges in life by writing music, and he said he plans to play never-before-heard songs — including ones that were “too personal” to record on an album — during his residency.

Church marked the grand opening of his bar on April 5, the same day he kicked off his 19-date, sold-out “To Beat The Devil Residency.” He announced the residency last month, promising “a one of a kind show… Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one.” Chief’s joins other artist bars along the stretch of honky tonks in Nashville, along with Luke BryanBlake SheltonDierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, to name a few. Bars still in the works include ones by Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen.

“I remember driving through downtown Nashville over 20 years ago with a pawn shop guitar, riding shotgun in a beat-to-hell truck just trying to chase a dream,” Church said in a statement when he announced plans to open his bar. “Chief’s is the culmination of catching that dream. Like everything else we do in our career, I wouldn’t even attempt a project like this if I didn’t think it would be the best, so that’s what Chief’s will be: the best.”

Eric Church
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