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Morgan Wallen admits that he didn’t really get into country music growing up until he was teenager and heard Eric Church. He told Billboard, “The way he wrote songs and the way that he said things really struck a chord with me. His realness, raw emotion and authenticity drew me in. Then I started digging a little bit deeper and started listening to Keith Whitley. I finally got into country music more and when I picked up a guitar, that’s what I wrote.”

Fast forward several years and now, Eric Church is a fan of Morgan. Eric told Billboard, “He’s real damn good and he’s authentic. That’s the key. Morgan is not trying to be somebody else. He’s just doing him. It’s refreshing to see and hear.”

Church went one to praise Wallen for “not just hitting the technical parts of the song but the emotional ones. Those are the ones that matter.”

It’s still a little mind-blowing to Morgan that his musical heroes, like Church, are now not only his peers but his friends. He shares, “Church knows how much he means to me, which is cool. I don’t obviously just sit around talking about that all the time, you know, being weird. But I told him just to get it out of the way: ‘Hey, by the way, man, I love you, bro.’ ”

 

Gallery: Morgan Wallen