Eric Church to headline Tallahatchie Riverfest

Local fans of mixing a little Southern rock with a lot of country music will have the opportunity to hear both when Nashville-based singer/songwriter Eric Church makes a stop in New Albany this fall.

Church, a critically-acclaimed country music artist, will headline the Tallahatchie Riverfest this September.

Growing up in Granite Falls, N.C., Church began singing as a child.  He began writing songs at age 13 and later taught himself to play the guitar.  During his college years at Appalachian State, Church formed a band, the Mountain Boys, that toured most of western North Carolina.  He later graduated with a degree in marketing and moved to Nashville to pursue a country music career.

After a year of effort, Church made a song publishing deal with Sony/ATV Tree and his songs were recorded by other artists, such as Terri Clark’s version of “The World Needs a Drink.”  He later began making demos with producer Jay Joyce, which led to his signing with Capitol Records Nashville.

Church’s first album, “Sinners Like Me,” was released on July 18, 2006 and, to his surprise, quickly

garnered him critical praise and a cult of rabid followers.  The album’s first single, “How ‘Bout You,” reached the country Top 20 before the album’s release.  Church’s success led to the opportunity to open for Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and even legendary rocker Bob Seger.

Church’s sophomore record, “Carolina,” debuted at #17 on Billboard’s Top 200 on March 24, 2009.  Church said that, with the album, he wanted to explore new territory.

“I wanted ‘Carolina’ to go to some different places,” said Church. “The first album was more aggressive and moody. This one is more diverse, more musical and a little brighter. I hope people can at least hear that we’re still taking chances.”

Church said that, unlike many contemporary artists, he doesn’t just write singles.

“ Most artists make singles and hope they end up with a record” Church said. “I prefer to make a record and hope I have singles. I love country music, and I am very reverent of the time that I have to make records.  I make albums.  I don’t know how to do it any other way.”

The Tallahatchie Riverfest will be Sept. 24-26 in downtown New Albany.