PHOTOS: Eric Church Takes Walk Down Memory Lane With His Two Sons At Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit

“For what’s been built here, not just in country music, but in all of music history. It is very special and very unprecedented. I am honored to be here,” Church said.

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Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on July 18, 2023

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Eric Church And His Sons; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Eric Church is the latest artist featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. The 46-year-old country music superstar has been honored with a new exhibit called Eric Church: Country Heart, Restless Soul.

During an invite-only unveiling of the exhibit on Wednesday evening (July 12), Church, a doting dad, shared a special moment with his two sons, Boone McCoy and Tennessee Hawkins, as the three of them walked through the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum together.

Re-Lived The Early Days Of His Career With His Two Sons

Reliving the memories of the early days of his career with his children by his side made Church more appreciative of the set-up as he was able to recall the times he spent with his boys when they were much too young to realize his success.

Church took the podium in the Hall of Fame Rotunda and talked about his kids being on his tour bus as toddlers. He shared how one of the highlights of touring his new exhibit was being able to reminisce over moments his kids might not remember on their own.

“The best part about this for me, and you guys are going to have a really good time in the exhibit, but the best part for me is both of my kids, from two and three months old, grew up on the tour bus,” Church shared. “And when you’re in the tornado, and you’re going through it, you forget all these things that happen.”

Eric Church And His Sons; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church And His Sons; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

“To be beside my boys tonight as we walk through and we went through those tidbits, but when they were one or two or three, they just don’t remember that,” he continued. “That was my favorite part of this entire exhibit. Experiencing it again with them is an unbelievable honor for me.”

The Exhibit, Presented By Gibson, Takes Visitors Through The Life And Career Of Church

Presented by Gibson, the display takes visitors through the life and career of the 10-time Grammy nominee and CMA Entertainer of the Year award-winner, showcasing items that range from musical instruments, song manuscripts, wardrobe pieces, tour memorabilia, awards, rare pictures, and more. Those who walk through the exhibit will gain knowledge about Church’s unique path to stardom, beginning with his early years when he wrote songs in Nashville, established his distinctive sound, and played late-night gigs in small-town bar scenes.

Eric Church; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Aside from talking about his family, Church thanked organizers of the exhibit and other members for acknowledging his musical journey in such high regard. He also shared his respect for the Country Music Hall of Fame, adding, “I am honored to be here.”

“I Am Honored To Be Here”

“I have such immense respect for this place, for this room we’re in,” Eric Church said. “For what’s been built here, not just in country music, but in all of music history. It is very special and very unprecedented. I am honored to be here.”

“When I make albums in my head, I have a visualization of a wall of all the album covers of my favorite albums, whether it’s Waylon [Jennings] or Stardust or dreaming my dreams or all these things. And in my head, I see those,” he added, sharing his formula for creating albums, “When we finish making an album, I always ask myself, ‘Can this album hang on that wall?’ That’s how I’ve made records. And if you look around this room, those same people are here. I know times change. I know technology happens, but the way we make music and the inspiration behind the music doesn’t change. And that’s the way I’ve done it.”

In his closing statement, Church said, “The people that I love and respect are here, and it’s been very incremental to me being here. And I will say that there is something to do in it. You’re on the way, and you can still get to where you want to go if you do it that way. So thank you guys very much.”

The Eric Church: Country Heart, Restless Soul exhibit opened on July 13 and will remain open until June 2024. For more information, visit countrymusichalloffame.org.

Eric Church; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

See five cool items that appear in the Eric Church: Country Heart, Restless Soul exhibit below.

Gibson Eric Church Hummingbird Dark Guitar

Church assisted with the guitar’s design. The instrument is a limited-edition, which the singer/songwriter used in 2019 during his Double Down Tour.

Eric Church's Guitars; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church’s Guitars; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Church’s “Springsteen” Outfit

Among some of the stage wear in the exhibit is the outfit Church wore for his music video for “Springsteen.” The outfit features an American Flag scarf wrapped around a well-worn leather jacket. “Springsteen” serves as one of Church’s earlier songs featured on his 2011 Chief album.

Eric Church's "Springsteen" Outfit; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church’s “Springsteen” Outfit; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

A Pair of Boots

Perhaps nothing better represents a musician’s journey than the boots they wore when they first set foot in Nashville. Eric Church’s boots featured in the exhibit also inspired one of his tracks called “These Boots.”

Eric Church's Boots; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church’s Boots; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Check them out in the picture above!

A Gift From Taylor Swift And Hank Williams Jr.

Church received plenty of notes and items from other friends in the music business, ranging from Taylor Swift to George Strait. One such gift he got in 2010 was a gold necklace from Hank Williams Jr. The present likely meant a lot to Church, who once opened for Hank Jr. on tour.

Eric Church's Gift From Taylor Swift; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church’s Gift From Taylor Swift; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church's Gift From Hank Williams Jr.; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

A Yearbook

Church has indeed come a long way. But, what makes his high school yearbook even more special is getting to show his kids his journey from beginning to now. Church graduated in 1995 from South Caldwell High School in Granite Falls, North Carolina.

Eric Church Yearbook; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Eric Church Yearbook; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
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Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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