OFFSTAGE: Eric Church Picks Smaller Venue for Live Album

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

With five CMA nominations coming his way Wednesday (Sept. 5), Eric Church is about to make a live album over the course of two nights (Oct. 8-9) at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, Tenn., for release in early 2013. This kind of album isn’t something you can throw together when you’re a rookie. The sound of a sparse crowd in a small room isn’t quite the vibe people usually want for a live album. And Church gets that, but he is happy he did play a lot of honky-tonks and smaller venues before he got to the arena stage. “I think you have to go through those environments to be able to earn your way into a place where you’re in front of 10,000 to 15,000 people,” Church told CMT Radio. “Then if something goes wrong, you can still handle it.” Church is also busy with a new contest on his website where fans can send in — via video — stories about the moment they first got into his music. The winner gets two tickets to one of the Chattanooga shows, a one-night hotel stay and a meet-and-greet with Church.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.