Love Marty Smith and Eric Church both.. awesome story
Music is a universal language. You needn't necessarily be capable of phonetically deciphering a respective song's words to grasp the magnitude of its message. I'm a big lyric guy, but when I hear a war chant in a foreign tongue I am apt to be every bit as moved as if it were "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Daytona 500.
And you guys know me -- I love nothing more than our national anthem.
Four years ago when my daddy died I was half-crazy. Possibly three-quarters. I hated everything, save the sweet grace of my wife and son. It was a terrible place. And I'm not proud of it, but just two people could buoy me: One's name was Jack. The other, Eric Church.
with Marty Smith
Do you have a question for ESPN NASCAR analyst Marty Smith? Go to Smith's SportsNation page to submit your question or comment for Marty, and check back regularly for the column in which he will provide the answers!
If you've read the forward I wrote to Eric's book, "A Song to Sing," you know this story. But my friendship with Church is rooted in heartbreak and founded on the music. It was always about the music. In the years since I shook his hand in a meet-and-greet line in Greensboro, N.C., an impenetrable bond has developed between Eric and me. He is my best friend.
But well before I knew him, the "Sinners Like Me" song train provided the perfect vehicle for my emotions in the moment.
Those 12 tracks let me cuss and cry and question why.
They let me get rowdy and proud and reminiscent.
They let me mourn my daddy the way my soul desired.
Rising star Eric Church and his music has meant a lot to Marty Smith.
When nothing else helped, the music did.
And Eric had a pen in every song.
That will never leave me. It will be seared into my soul for the rest of my days.
That is the power of music. It is the same language to all listeners, but speaks differently to each individual.
It was just before dawn last Sunday in California, and I was walking from my car to the media room at Auto Club Speedway when I ran into a couple of college kids tending to a track suite. One requested a moment of my time, to ask some "how did you get here" advice. Then he asked me what my dream job would be if I didn't work for ESPN.
I answered, simply, that I'd dream to be an elite songwriter in Nashville. To me, they are the most talented folks breathing this air.
The ability to string chords and words into songs is a gift. To me, it is among the ultimate gifts.
In very few professions can three minutes change a life. Or save a life.
Doctor is one. Preacher, too.
And songwriting is one of them. Trust me.
Thanks for sharing this terrific article. I have such a passion for music...especially lyrics that touch the heart, challenge the mind, and rev you up! Eric Church is the total package!
I loved this article! But then, I generally love anything Marty writes. He's strings words together in a way that I wish I could. That's half the reason I just bought the photo book! Haha! I want to read what Marty wrote. I think he could easily be a songwriter.
I know, I know. Eric forum. Those two go hand in hand for me. I'm a fan of both of them and their talent.