Eric Church transforms hardship into harmony at new Nashville hotspot

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Country prima Eric Church has officially launched Chief's, a six-story venue that combines a bar, edifice and euphony hall, correct successful nan bosom of Nashville's iconic Broadway. The "Record Year" vocalist is presently hosting a 19-show residency astatine this friendly 400-seat location.

Reflecting connected his early days successful Nashville, Church said erstwhile he near his mini municipality successful North Carolina, each he had was dreams of stardom.

"I didn't cognize anybody," he said. "I didn't moreover cognize wherever Nashville started and ended. I conscionable knew that I came to nan halfway of it."

Despite his ambitions, nan opening was fraught pinch rejections. He said he couldn't moreover get a bartending occupation connected Broadway. 

"Broadway didn't want maine astatine all," he said. "I couldn't get a gig connected Broadway."

Today, Church is revered arsenic 1 of state music's astir respected figures, often described arsenic Nashville's renegade. But he admits, moreover now, aft each this success, he sometimes still sees himself arsenic an outsider. 

Chief's is much than conscionable a venue. It's a heartfelt task that offers Church a measurement to link profoundly pinch his fans. 

"I wanted a spot that I could show up at, nary compartment phones, nary recorders that I could beryllium successful a surviving room setting, and I could play songs that didn't make albums," Church said.

The value of Chief's arsenic a safe abstraction has been covered by individual tragedies that Church faced, including his near-death acquisition from a humor clot successful June of 2017. He had emergency surgery, and it took months to recover. One of his first shows backmost that autumn was astatine a show successful Las Vegas. Two days aft he performed, a gunman opened occurrence connected nan crowd, sidesplitting 60 people.

"I watched those group that night, clasp up boots and, and singing astatine nan apical of their lungs," he said. "And past 2 days later, you know, deadliest wide sprout successful U.S. history. Had a batch of fans that had stayed complete for nan play to spot each nan shows that sewage killed. I don't cognize what it was, thing astir it conscionable benignant of collapsed me," he said.

The unexpected decease of his younger relative Brandon — who died of seizure complications little than a twelvemonth later — plunged him into 8 months of "darkness."

"I sewage done everything other I've sewage done successful my life. I turned to nan 1 point I cognize I tin do. I wrote songs," he said.

Chief's provides a level for him to execute nan songs calved from these individual tests — songs excessively individual for albums, but therapeutic for his treatment process.

"What I'm trying to show pinch nan residency present is it was really nan songwriting and nan songs that nobody's heard that I've ne'er put connected a record," he said. "Cause it was excessively personal, was excessively close. I'm gonna play those. I'm gonna say, this is what sewage maine through."

Beyond nan music, Church wanted Chief's to consciousness personal. The stained-glass windows characteristic those artists who person inspired him. He's covered a barroom pinch astir 4,000 of his performance posters. There are nods everyplace to his life and euphony that is now a unique portion of nan Nashville sound.

Despite his continued self-view arsenic an outsider, Church feels a consciousness of redemption successful being capable to found specified a individual liking connected Broadway, wherever he erstwhile faced rejection. 

"I started here, you know, they didn't want maine here. I'm here. They can't footwear maine retired now."

Jan Crawford

Jan Crawford

Jan Crawford is CBS News' main ineligible analogous and based successful Washington, D.C.