Since releasing his first single in 2012, Thomas Rhett has gone on to inspire a number of country artists, but for him, that inspiration came from Eric Church. During an appearance on The Bobby Bones Show, Rhett opened up about some of his biggest inspirations, naming Church as his "favorite country artist of all time."
"As far as just me growing up and really falling in love with the craft of songwriting and a guy that can just perform the crap out of a show, it would be Eric, for sure," he said. Rhett also named Church's "These Boots" as one of his favorite songs of all time, along with "Misery and Gin" by Merle Haggard. During an episode of Taylor Lewan and Will Compton’s Bussin’ With The Boys podcast, Rhett previously shared that when he was starting out as an artist, he wanted to be Eric Church, though he ultimately found better success leaning into the things that made him Thomas Rhett.
"As a new artist, when I was just starting out, I wanted to be Eric Church," he said. "Everything about me wanted to be Eric Church. I wanted to dress like Eric Church, I wanted to wear Ray Bans like Eric Church on stage, I wanted to write songs like Eric Church, and I tried it. My whole first record was a straight-up country rock and roll record produced by Jay Joyce who produces all of Eric’s albums. And as I got into it, I was like 'dang that didn’t work for me' and it’s because I was trying to be him, I wasn’t trying to be Thomas Rhett."
Rhett's first album was 2013's It Goes Like This, which features the singles "Something to Do With My Hands," "Beer With Jesus," "It Goes Like This," "Get Me Some of That" and "Make Me Wanna," the latter three of which all went to No. 1.
"First record in, two songs that died at 15 and I said 'if I’m going to make a living at this, I need a hit,'" he recalled. "So sometimes artists get to that point where they just don’t care if it doesn’t say anything, I need something that feels great on the radio, because I need people to know my name. And a lot of people would call that selling out, a lot of people would call that a cop-out, but you want to make a living or you don’t. And I’m not saying if I had kept on trying to do what I was doing it might not have worked, but I needed some traction."