Crowd Cheers Sales Success of Eric Church’s Carolina

"Love Your Love the Most" Racks Up 1 Million Airplays

Capitol Records celebrated the gold certification of Eric Church‘s second album, Carolina, Tuesday (July 12) with a late afternoon party at the Whiskey Bent Saloon in Nashville.

A “gold” designation, which is certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), signifies that 500,000 copies of an album or single have been shipped for retail sales.

As the Church-goers gathered and availed themselves of the full bar, uniformed servers circulated through the crowd offering trays of vegetable “caviar” in crust shells, fried green tomatoes topped with bacon and other such caloric landmines.

“This has been a long time coming, a lot of hard work,” said Capitol chief Mike Dungan as he surveyed the crowd from the room’s bandstand, “[but] buoyed by the constant comment, ‘Wow, that’s my favorite record.’”

However, Dungan proclaimed, the current sales total is but “a fraction of what it’s going to be before it’s done.” He then presented Church the first of a series of plaques to mark the occasion. He also noted the singer-songwriter’s third album, Chief, will be out July 26.

Troy Tomlinson, Church’s publisher at Sony/ATV Music, said the singer-songwriter’s artistic virtues can be distilled into three words: “authentic, uncompromising, driven.” He also presented a plaque.

“At BMI, we are in the Eric Church business and proud to be there,” said Jody Williams, speaking for the organization that collects and pays royalties for the public playing and performances of songs.

Williams announced that Church’s 2009 single, “Love Your Love the Most,” has garnered 1 million plays at radio, a total that would amount, if done in sequence, he explained, to six years of around-the-clock airplay.

Williams gave awards to Church and his co-writer, Michael Heeney, for the achievement.

It was Church’s first such milestone.

“It’s not lost on me how special this [occasion] is,” said Church, “especially in this day and age. … This is the epitome of dedication, perseverance and belief.”

He thanked his wife and his parents, who stood in the crowd, for being “the people who keep me grounded.”

Then, summing it all up, Church said, “I’m not the easiest guy to work with. … But I promise you, we’re going to kick everybody’s ass in the end.”

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.