Sixteen years ago today (July 18, 2006) was a significant day for Eric Church: It was on that date that Church’s freshman album, Sinners Like Me, was released on Capitol Nashville.
Church co-wrote all 12 songs on his debut record, which spawned three Top 20 hits: “How ‘Bout You,” “Two Pink Lines” and “Guys Like Me.” According to Church, he had no interest in being an artist if he couldn’t write his own songs.
“I came [to Nashville] to be a songwriter; I never really came to town to be an artist. I didn’t know how to do it,” Church tells Billboard. “But there were so many people in town that kept saying, ‘We love this or that song, but it sounds like it’s his.’ When that started coming back time and time again, we started thinking, ‘Maybe we’re going about this wrong.’ That’s when we started at least entertaining that I should be an artist.”
Sinners Like Me landed in the Top 10 on the country charts, but not everything went well for Church in 2006: The North Carolina native was fired from Rascal Flatts‘ Me & My Gang Tour that year, after he repeatedly played for too long during his opening sets.
“It just honestly wasn’t a great fit,” Church says. “I’m not a guy that follows rules great, and when some rules were put out there, I broke them. I probably played too long. I played louder than I was supposed to. I went to places on the stage I wasn’t supposed to go.”
Sinners Like Me has been certified gold, for sales in excess of 500,000 units. The project is available on Amazon and iTunes. To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the album in 2016, Church shared a never-before-released music video for the disc’s title track.
“This video has been sitting in our vault for 10 years, waiting for this very moment,” a Facebook post accompanying the video reads. “This album defined Eric as we know him one decade later.”
Watch Eric Church’s “Sinners Like Me” Video:
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