Eric Ethridge should be up for "Gentleman of the Year" at this years Canadian Country Music Awards. Seeing as they don't have that particular award available I'm glad that he has been nominated for the CCMA's Rising Star category.
As for the qualifications for a Gentleman of the Year award I would like to highlight my experience at Toronto's Union Station. First of all, I showed up at the tail end of his sound check. When he was finished Eric allowed me a moment to take the first pic in the series that I have posted here..
Then, after a break between soundcheck and main performance, as people drifted by on their way to elsewhere, Eric played as if he was on stage at a packed concert venue. He wasn't chintzy with his time either. Two hours of free music would be difficult for other musicians just starting out.
There were a couple of diehard fans in attendance. Both seemed more than capable of designing and manufacturing merchandise for Eric Ethridge. One of whom was wearing one of her creations. A t-shirt with the Eric Ethridge logo in metallic blue. She said she could produce them in glitter too.
So, to this point most musicians would be happy to pose for random pics, perform sets that are full of energy, and have fans that deck themselves out in branded gear. You are probably wondering what makes Eric Ethridge so special. Deserving of the "Gentleman of the Year" award.
Well let me tell you. After Eric's soundcheck I had mentioned that my Mom was upset that she couldn't make the show. Then after sticking around for three hours (an hour between soundcheck and the main two hour performance) I reiterated that I knew my mom was going to be disappointed that she couldn't make it.
He asks me "Do you have a cell phone?" Then immediately follows that up with "We can record a message for her." I fumbled through my backpack and produced my phone to record Eric's message. I stayed behind the camera. This was a communication between those two. It made Mom's day, week, and month. Eric did that in under a minute. The little things truly do count.
Needless to say my mom is tickled pink that she gets to play a special video message from Eric Ethridge any time she wants. He has gained two more fans for life. We wish Eric the best of luck at this Sunday's Canadian Country Music Awards in the Rising Star category. This will most certainly not be his last nomination or win.