I have seen Eric Church grow up as a performer and a person personally over the years from day one, to his current superstar status. He has earned every bit of his success. He appreciates his fans too and takes none of them for granted. I first saw Eric playing in a conference room in Watertown, New York when he released his first single "How 'Bout You". He was a quiet guy with a lot of talent, and was willing to play wherever and whenever he had to in order to expand his fan base.

A few short years later he was rolling up the charts with the hit "Two Pink Lines" and had a gig as headliner at the Lewis County Fair in Lowville, New York- "the cream cheese capital of the world"! He was starting to hit his stride, as he was a lot more talkative and could feel that he was getting close.

There were a few more station visits that I had with Eric over the years and the hits kept coming.

When he put out "Love Your Love The Most", I knew he was ready to start popping. Crowds were singing it word-for-word all over America. Then he came back with the "Country Throwdown" at SPAC and literally stole the show that day.

He popped again with "Smoke A Little Smoke" and had SPAC on its feet with Toby Keith last year.

Then came the CD "Chief". "Homeboy" was the first song he released, and it was incredible! Now he has the biggest party song of the last year, and a #1 hit with "Drink In My Hand".

Eric Church was on crutches two years ago in Nashville when Sean McMaster and I were broadcasting live form the CMA Awards on 1077 'GNA. There was a huge crowd at the gathering, but he still saw us and hobbled through all the people and said "Man, great to finally see some people I know." It was the year he played WGNA Countryfest as a supporting act.

He is jacked up for Countryfest 2012, and can't wait to rock the house with you on July 7th at the TU Center. Josh Thompson, Thompson Square and Joe Nichols will also be on the big stage leading up to Eric Church at this year's show.This year there is even a FREE street party with live country music on Pearl Street for the first time EVER starting at noon for anyone that wants to come down and party. It'll be featuring awesome local bands as well as Dustin Lynch, who is heading into the Top 20 right now with his debut hit, "Cowboys and Angels."

Tickets go on sale for everyone next Friday, all the details are here. Make sure you join the Fanatics now on WGNA.com so you can save $10 next Thursday with our 1 day online pre-sale through Ticketmaster.com  All 'GNA Fanatics will get an email with the code you need next Wednesday, and you will be able to buy general admission floor seats and lower-level seating with a $10 discount. If you're not a Fanatic click here to join.