Carolina Called Eric Church Home

But It Locked Him Out

What a night for Rita Church: one minute her son is being honored, the next minute he’s breaking and entering.

That’s what happened for Eric Church’s mother Rita recently at the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame ceremony at the Gem Theater.

Church was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he was playing a private event — which I had no idea artists like Church even did anymore — and couldn’t get there in time. So his mom and his sister Kendra were there to accept the honor.

When he realized he might be able to make it there in time for the end of the ceremony, he jumped in his dad’s car and drove right to Kannapolis. Hoping he could sneak in and surprise his mom and the crowd, Church headed straight for the back entrance. But the door was locked.

According to Church’s website, he saw cords snaking into a second level balcony entrance.

So his assistant went up first, got a ladder, and then Church climbed up to the balcony just in time to hear his mother thanking the crowd.

And when that crowd saw Church, and coerced him into playing something, he borrowed an old guitar, and said, “Well, let’s see what I can play in whatever key this is in.”

He played “Carolina,” a deep cut off his 2009 album of the same name that’s always a big part of his live shows. Even the little, impromptu ones in his home state.

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