Eric Church plays the Golden 1 Center tomorrow night and when he hits that stage, he’ll do so as, currently, one of the biggest and most respected artists from any genre of music.
But even the biggest names gotta start someplace. And for Eric, that was South Caldwell High School in Hudson, North Carolina. Back before The Outsiders, back before Chief, before Smoke A Little Smoke and the aviator sunglasses and the swaggering bad-assery of a man who’s done it his way, there was Kenneth Eric Church, average-appearing high school student who enjoyed singing.
Below are a couple videos shot around 1994 and since posted on YouTube. The first looks like it’s either an audition for a high school talent show or the actual show…details aren’t available. What IS apparent? That kid in the multi-colored rodeo shirt reading the lyrics off a scrap of paper can sing a little. The video is a little weirdly edited–Eric sings Garth Brooks’ We Shall Be Free from the start of the video to about the :53 mark, then another young man appears until the 2:04 mark, and then it’s back to Eric again to about the 2:29 mark, but it’s still really cool to watch.
In the second video, Kenneth…errr…Eric was apparently part of his school’s production of Guys and Dolls and he and the cast are celebrating at what looks to be an after-show party (complete with some beverages they maybe shouldn’t be partaking in). Eric doesn’t sing solo in this video and isn’t even in the whole thing but there are a couple pretty great shots of him that will absolutely remind you that, again, no matter how big they get, everybody starts somewhere.