Eric Church is the lead nominee going into Thursday night's CMA Awards with five nominations, including Album of the Year for Chief . That project spawned his first two #1 country hits with "Drink in My Hand" and "Springsteen," and these nods are further proof Eric has finally found a place the country genre.
Looking back a few years ago, Eric remembers playing clubs and not feeling like his music belonged anywhere. He tells ABC News Radio, "I felt at times like we were too rock for country and too country for rock, and we really just didn't have a home at times."
Eric adds, "So, to go from there to having five nominations is really something that I had a hard time, and still do have a hard time, getting my head around. It's pretty incredible."
Eric built his career playing countless shows and working tirelessly on his three albums. These CMA nods are a nice pat on the back for him, but Eric doesn't live or die by whether or not his name is called at awards shows.
"I can't control how many nominations we get or how many we win," Eric says. "I can only control the kind of record we make and the kind of show we put on. And I think if I keep it that simple, and I keep it that small of what I can control then the rest of the stuff will take care of itself."
All that said, Eric is extremely proud to be recognized for his platinum album Chief in a time when the music industry is focused more and more on selling individual tracks. Of all his nominations, Eric has his eyes locked on the CMA Album of the Year category saying, "If there's one that would mean the most to me, it's that."
Eric is also slated to perform on the CMA Awards Thursday night, and he's been putting a lot of thought into how to use that three minutes of airtime. He and his band are on the road right now, so they're primed and ready to entertain.
Says Eric of the performance, "It's also about maybe trying to do something a little bit different than what people see every night. Now, that's the challenge."
Eric is also nominated for Male Vocalist and Single, Song and Video of the Year for "Springsteen."
The 46th Annual CMA Awards broadcast live from Nashville on ABC Thursday night at 8 ET.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio