When North Carolina native Eric Church performed at the 2018 Country Concert in Fort Loramie, Ohio over the weekend, he played two special songs, “Amazing Grace” and “Sinners Like Me,” in honor of his late brother, Brandon.
Brandon Church, who occasionally co-wrote music and played with Eric early in his career, passed away at the age of 36 shortly after suffering a seizure in his home in Granite Falls, N.C. Billboard writes that Brandon suffered another seizure while he was being rushed to the hospital. No official cause of death has been released.
Brandon’s sudden death occurred on June 29, but Eric chose to forge ahead with his planned festival date on July 7 to both honor his brother and be with “his people,” as a fan explained on Twitter.
At @countryconcert @ericchurch plays “how ‘bout you,” which co-wrote with his brother who died last week. Tells crowd: it’s been a tough week. But I need this. I need my people.” Tough night for him, but he’s playing heart out.
— Brian Dugger (@DuggerBlade) July 8, 2018
Eric Church stood solemnly with his acoustic guitar to perform a quiet, simple version of “Amazing Grace” which he transitioned into “Sinners Like Me,” a song from his 2006 debut album of the same name. Brandon helped him write the first single from that album, “How ‘Bout You.”
Eric Church singing Amazing Grace and Sinners Like Me in honor of his brother 🎶 pic.twitter.com/HtZFQkFODU
— Country Music Jesus (@EricChurch_Fans) July 8, 2018
If you’d like to hear him perform “Amazing Grace” in a quieter setting, Church also performed the song at the 51st CMA Awards. Entering a similar headspace of great sadness, Church sang in honor of the Las Vegas shooting victims. The senseless act of violence that took place during the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival had occurred only a month prior to the awards show.
To aid in their grief, the Church family set up a scholarship memorial fund in Brandon’s memory. “In lieu of flowers, please pay forward a gift that will keep on giving to others through furthering their education. The Brandon E. Church Memorial Scholarship Fund will be used to bless others and honor a benevolent life,” the website for the scholarship reads. Currently, the funds have reached over $28K.
Eric Church will resume with tour dates starting on July 21 in California with shows planned through August and a couple in September. Last year, Church received the Merle Haggard Spirit Award at the ACM Awards and released a four-volume live album project called 61 Days in Church.