Peyton Manning recently appeared on Apple Music Country radio show Bootleggers Radio with country music singer and songwriter Luke Combs. The former quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion joined the show to chat about football, but more than that, his love for country music, the artists, and the lasting friendships he formed with them. He especially noted his love and appreciation for Eric Church, George Strait, and friend Kenny Chesney.
During their talk, Manning recounted to Combs the story of how he fell in love with country music. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Manning grew up with the songs of his parents’ playlist. He grooved to Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and many more. At that time, country music was not considered a staple.
But when he went to college at the University of Tennessee, the songs of Elvis and The Beatles turned to George Strait, Eric Church, and more country music.
He got hooked right away, and one of the first country music artists he listened to was George Strait. One of his most repeated songs of George Strait was ‘Amarillo by Morning.’ It was so good that he played it over and over again. He was also able to see and meet George Strait in concert in Knoxville at the Thompson-Boling Arena, and that was how their friendship started.
As for Eric Church, it was his best friend Todd Helton who introduced him to his songs. A former Colorado Rockies first baseman, Helton always wore a number 17 with Church’s fan-favorite track ‘Springsteen’ as his walk-up song.
Manning also shared that Eric Church was someone he has gotten to know the past few years. With stories of how Church started in the industry and ultimately the time and work he always spends on his craft made a lasting impression on him. And that was how his appreciation for Eric Church’s songs grew.
He also noted how Eric Church was a great live performer. He had seen him and heard him at Red Rocks and at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Quarterback Peyton Manning joins @lukecombs on a new episode of #BootleggersRadio. 🏈— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) March 5, 2021
Listen now for free on Apple Music Country: https://t.co/Ua7k37pjvL pic.twitter.com/eDf2wjZooj
Combs was also known to have a big love and appreciation for Eric Church. During his appearance on Straight Up Steve Austin, he shared how it was a Church CD that inspired him and influenced his country music career. It was a guy from his college who told him about Eric Church, and when he checked him out, it was just like the fire caught a spark.
Luke Combs, Peyton Manning