September 23, 2021

Outsiders Radio: Episode #76

AIR DATE: June 2021

SHOW THEME: Carolina Country Fest

ERIC: Hey everybody, it’s Eric Church back for the seventy-sixth episode of “Outsiders Radio.”  I’m happy to say that the band & I have done our first shows since the Double Down tour ended in fall of 2019.  We did a casino show in Oklahoma and the Carolina Country Fest in Myrtle Beach.  For me, that night in Myrtle Beach, playing for 35 to 40-thousand people, was something I’d been dreaming about for a year and a half.  And the guys in my band felt the same way.

Craig: It was awesome! It was 17 months since we played the last show, so it was great to be back together, this is what we do, a band’s supposed to play, so it’s great to be back together.

For those of you who keep track, that was the first song we played at our first show in 17 months.  That show was at a casino in Oklahoma.  For the guys in the band, the show was a chance to get warmed up. 

Jeff Hyde: It was cool, everybody was on edge, or at least I was, because we hadn’t played those songs in front of anyone in so long, we had 5 or 6 new ones mixed in, but it felt good to get out there and do it again. Two or three songs in it’s kind of like riding a bicycle.  But that was my two main concerns: Make sure my pants were zipped up, and don’t be the problem on stage. If I can accomplish that, I feel like I’ve had a good night.

Driver: It was probably 4-5 thousand. Not what we were used to. It was like dipping our toes in, making sure we knew the songs, knew our cues, our transitions, good to get one in, and now we’re really gonna let loose tonight.


Everybody was definitely ready to “let loose,” so after that casino show in Oklahoma, the band & I played the Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach.  It was a make-up of a show that had been scheduled in 2020.  As you can imagine, all four days were completely sold out.  Before the show, Jeff Hyde and Driver Williams from my band got a chance to walk around the area.

(Hyde Driver Myrtle) We played it 2 or 3 times, we walked around, see all the sights, and man oh man it looks the same.  Cool to see everybody back out and about. I’m sure they’re glad to see the crowd come back in. (D) It looks it has, kinda like Jeff said, like it does every year. We’ve been fortunate to play this thing a couple times. It’s really great to be back, especially on a sold out night. It’s been a year and a half, almost two years. The casino last week was cool, but this is gonna be a real release that we needed for a long time, so 42,000 people is a good way to start it off.


There is nothing like PLAYING “Carolina”…IN Carolina.  We got the chance to do that a couple weeks ago at the Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach.  The stage was set up right on the beach.  We could hear the waves and smell salt water.  One of the other performers that weekend is a guy who LOVES the beach: Jake Owen.

 (Jake Tour) I’m pretty fired up about that actually, and I’m just lookin’ forward to getting out there and feeling people just singing songs, seeing happiness on people’s faces, I feel like a lot of us have lived in fear for a while, and to see people feel good again about getting outside and being around other people is a big thing, so comin’ to a city near you.

A couple of summertime hits from Jake Owen, who was the opening night headliner at the Carolina Country Music Fest.  I headlined night two, and we’ll tell you about that in a bit.  Joining Jake on opening night was Jordan Davis, who described the feeling of playing for 35-thousand people after a 17-month break.

Jordan - It was bizarre, it was exciting, it was nerve-wracking, everything you can think of going into a show. But it was great, and I think having felt those nerves in a long while, and just took a while to just get back on the live show thing. The first song we played was a brand new song that we haven’t played together as a band. The second song was song we’ve been playing, Take It From Me, my second single, and when that started, it was right back into it.

That’s Jordan Davis, who was part of the Carolina Country Music Fest a couple weeks ago.  The night 3 headliner was a guy who grew up less than two hours south of Myrtle Beach in Charleston SC: Darius Rucker.  He’s spent the last year & a half playing golf and recording a new record.  But like all of us, he was ready to hit the stage.

Darius - I’m ready to go on the road. You know this has been a great year of getting to know the kids better, staying a home, being a homebody. But I’m ready to spend 3 or 4 days a week in 3 or 4 different cities doin’ it. For me, I’m ready to get back, to places that wanna see us play, and go play and show them why they wanna see us play.

Definitely a lotta “beers & sunshine” at this year’s Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach.  I’m Eric Church, and I headlined night 2.  Darius Rucker took that spot on night 3.  Wrapping up the four day festival was another Carolinian (although like me he’s from the north): Luke Combs.

Luke - I’ve played that festival before, probably 3-4 years ago, I was playing the B stage as Hurricane was poppin,’ so Im really excited, this will be close to the first headline slot I’ve done at a festival. We were just getting to that point before covid happened. We’ve headlined smaller festivals, but all of this was supposed to happen last summer. This will be the first summer being a big headline act at these festivals, so I’m excited about that, it’s something I haven’t done before, really stoked about that because the energy is always really great at those festivals, and looking forward to seeing the fans having fun out there for sure.

That’s my buddy Luke Combs, who closed out the Carolina Country Music Fest a couple weeks ago in Myrtle Beach.  I’m Eric Church, and we played on Friday night.  Earlier in the day, my band & crew set up a little bar-be-cue out in the parking lot.  It was a beautiful day.  A mid-afternoon thunderstorm had passed, and the guys were able to relax before the show.  Here’s one of my guitar players: Driver Williams.

Driver - We like festivals or I like festivals because for the past five years we toured by ourselves, we don’t have any opening acts, so we get to see some buddies we don’t get to see. So that’s why I like the festivals. I’ve already got buddies in other bands, so I’m looking forward to seeing my road buddies.  All the guys in Ashley McBride’s band and Ashley herself is a dear friend, they’re here today, so I need to look at the lineups coming up but I know the texts have been coming in.

That is our friend Ashley McBryde with a couple songs from her latest album Never Will.  Ashley played the Carolina Country Music Festival right before us.  It was quite a night.  We came on around 10PM…not a cloud in the sky.  The stage was right on the beach.  About two blocks to our right is an historic club called “The Bowery,” where the house band later became known as Alabama.  The area is known as The Grand Strand.  Randy Owen will tell you that they go “shaggin’ on the boulevard.”  That’s where that song came from.  Anyway, we had a great time that night. About three-quarters of the way through our set, I jumped off the stage into the crowd, and had a little chat.  We’re gonna play that moment for you now as we wrap things up. I’m Eric Church, see you next time on Outsiders Radio.


Eric -“For all of the pandemic, I’ve been dreaming about nights like this right here. Where we can all gather again, where we can all be together and we can all just be us.

This is the first night since 2019 that I’ve been able to do this right here. I love nothin’ more than doin’ this right here.

Thank you Myrtle Beach. You guys kick some serious ass here on the Grand Strand. I’m not done yet, I’m not done… You gotta help me out with this part here.”