Eric Church Talks About Discovering Koe Wetzel And Shane Smith & The Saints: “That’s Who I Listen To”


Well this had to have been one helluva damn country concert.

A couple weekends ago, Koe Wetzel and Shane Smith & the Saints headed up north to Canada with the one and only Eric Church to open a couple shows, which on its face, does seem like a bit of an odd trio in the world of country music.

But, if you’re anything like me, then that’s probably actually a great representation of your country playlist, and sounds like a dream lineup.

And it’s what Eric is doing throughout his entire Outsiders Revival Tour, bringing along the likes of Lainey Wilson, Muscadine Bloodline, Cody Jinks, Whiskey Myers, Travis Tritt and tons more artists from every sub-genre of country you can think of in what makes up an absolutely all-star cast.

During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Chief revealed that his eclectic group of openers is directly inspired by his personal taste, saying specifically that Koe and Shane Smith are “who I listen to.”

He added that both of them asked how he’d ever even heard of them before when they visited on his bus ahead of their shows in Canada, and seeing as Koe and Shane are both Texas staples and deeply rooted in the music scene there, I’d say that’s a fair enough question because Eric is very much a mainstream artist (who also does things his own way):

“That’s who I listen to. This past weekend, we had Koe Wetzel and Shane Smith & the Saints, and it was interesting.

They both came up on the bus and they were talking about ‘How did you even hear us?’ I said, ‘I like you guys.’”

I mean, what a compliment from one of the biggest country stars of the last 10 or 15 years.

One of the things I love about Eric is how well-rounded his taste is, and he always seems to have his pulse on the best artists in the genre and where the good stuff is, whether it’s coming out of Nashville or not (Ashley McBryde comes to mind as a quick example).

Eric also said that Shane admitted to him that there have been plenty of times where he felt like quitting, because longevity in the music business is so damn hard and discouraging at times, but Eric says he told them to keep going because “that was me 20 years ago.”

What a guy…

“Shane Smith was saying, ‘We’ve thought about quitting for a while.’

And I said, ‘Listen, this happens to everybody. You guys are good. You should keep doing it. And I’m glad you’re here.

I’m glad you played in front of the people you did. That was me 20 years ago.”

I know I’m probably asking for way too much, but how cool would it be if we could one day get some sort of Koe/Eric collaboration?

I think they could probably come up with something really special…

And it sounds like Koe crossed off a bucket list item getting to open for Chief, saying in typical Koe fashion that he couldn’t believe they let him into Canada, “Much less to play on the same stage as Eric Church.”

We need this lineup in America ASAP…

“I can’t believe they let us into Canada, much less play on the same stage as @ericchurchmusic. Can’t thank him and his crew enough for one hell of a weekend!”

Eric Church 2023 Tour Dates

* denotes festival dates

July 23*    Minot, N.D. / North Dakota State Fairgrounds                                North Dakota State Fair
July 28      Dallas, Texas / Dos Equis Pavilion                                                   Midland, Ray Wylie Hubbard
July 29      Austin, Texas / Germania Insurance Amphitheater                          Midland, Ray Wylie Hubbard
Aug. 4       Raleigh, N.C. / Coastal Credit Union Music Park                            Cody Jinks
Aug. 5       Bristow, Va. / Jiffy Lube Live                                                           Cody Jinks
Aug. 11     Indianapolis, Ind. / Ruoff Music Center                                            Cody Jinks
Aug. 12     Chicago, Ill. / Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre                              Cody Jinks
Aug. 13*   Des Moines, Iowa / Iowa State Fairgrounds                                     Iowa State Fair
Aug. 18     Orange Beach, Ala. / The Wharf Amphitheater                                Lainey Wilson, Jackson Dean
Aug. 19     Orange Beach, Ala. / The Wharf Amphitheater                                Lainey Wilson, Jackson Dean
Aug. 25     Holmdel, N.J. / PNC Bank Arts Center                                            Whiskey Myers
Aug. 26     Philadelphia, Pa. / Freedom Mortgage Pavilion                               Whiskey Myers
Sept. 8      Portland, Ore. / RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater                         Jelly Roll, Hailey Whitters
Sept. 9      George, Wash. / Gorge Amphitheatre                                                Jelly Roll, Hailey Whitters
Sept. 15     Albuquerque, N.M. / Isleta Amphitheater                                        Paul Cauthen, Hailey Whitters
Sept. 16     Phoenix, Ariz. / Ak-Chin Pavilion                                                   Jelly Roll, Paul Cauthen
Sept. 22     Atlanta, Ga. / Ameris Bank Amphitheatre                                       Whiskey Myers
Sept. 23     Charlotte, N.C. / PNC Music Pavilion                                             Whiskey Myers
Sept. 29     West Palm Beach, Fla. / iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre              Whiskey Myers
Sept. 30     Tampa, Fla. / MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre              Whiskey Myers
Oct. 7*      Bristol, Tenn. / Bristol Motor Speedway                                          Country Thunder Bristol

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