AceShowbiz - Singer Eric Church only managed to pull off his performance at the 2020 Academy of Country Music Awards by penning a letter to Johnny Cash's two artist children to secure the rights to his work.
Church moved fans by incorporating Cash's "Ragged Old Flag" into his single "Stick That in Your Country Song" for the recent prizegiving, but the event's executive producer, RAC Clark, reveals the set almost didn't happen, because they were having trouble clearing the sample use with the late legend's estate.
"As we got into it, we found the Cash estate and publishers are very protective," Clark explained to Country Aircheck.
"No matter how much talking I did trying to get it cleared, it was a corporate wall."
Clark suggested Church make a last-ditch attempt by appealing to fellow musicians Rosanne Cash and John Carter Cash - two of Johnny's five kids, and the personal touch worked.
"I'm never going to share that letter, but it's the reason that performance aired," Clark said. "(Church's) passion about what he wanted to say and why allowed them (Cash's children) to entrust him with their father's legacy."
The producer added, "Part of my job is to bring these things (performance ideas) to life, but this was Eric's vision. He pushed it over the top, and boy, did he deliver."
At the 55th Annual ACM Awards, which took place on September 16, Church kicked off his performance by strumming on a dark stage. Footage of Cash reciting "Ragged Old Flag" later played on the screen behind him, while the "Desperate Man" belted out his own song as an image of the American flag waving behind him.