Eric Ethridge was driving his car down Michigan Avenue in Sarnia when it happened: the moment he heard his debut single on the radio.
“Once my song came on I burst into tears,” says the 28-year-old rising country music star. “It was pretty emotional; we’ve been hammering away at this for a while and to actually have a song on the radio is huge. I am very, very grateful for that.”
Humility still radiates as brightly as the first time I interviewed him two years ago. He brings me up to speed on his latest endeavours, which include a cross-Canada radio tour and an official music video release for “Liquor’s Callin’ the Shots” which recently hit number 30 on the Canadian Country Music Charts.
“Things are pretty crazy right now,” says Ethridge, fresh off a stint in Nashville for some songwriting and collaborating.
The St. Patrick’s high school grad and University of Western footballer-turned-chiropractor, is speaking by phone between patients at his Sarnia practice, where he’s become a lot more recognizable over the past year.
“My patients come in and say, ‘I heard you on the radio,’” he says. “When I talk to you about it out loud, right now, it’s kind of crazy isn’t it?”
Over its first three days, the video for Liquor’s Callin’ the Shots earned more than 100,000 Facebook views, and has since been added to Country Music Television’s video circuit. Shot in Sarnia, the video includes scenes from the city’s downtown, Canatara beach and The Station Music Hall.
“Sarnia is a huge part of my life, so to have my first music video shot here is really cool,” he says, noting that just about everyone featured in the video is from Sarnia.
In the meantime, he’s still learning the ins and outs of the music business — expanding his team, which includes managers, producers, bandmates and a tech crew.
“It’s quite the operation,” he says. “We’re getting ready to release a second single in the fall, and already planning for next year.”
This week, he’ll take the stage at Centennial Park for the inaugural Bluewater Borderfest, a two-day festival featuring some big names in country music, including Chase Bryant, Brett Kissel, Frankie Ballard and Dylan Scott.
“I’m really pumped about it,” says Ethridge. “I think it’s going to be a really good festival and a good revamping of hopefully what is the return of a major live music event at Centennial, so I’m happy to be a part of it.”