Watch Eric Church Cover “To Beat The Devil” At Kris Kristofferson Tribute

Along with several other country stars, Eric Church paid tribute to Kris Kristofferson onstage at the Life & Songs Of Kris Kristofferson concert last night. Before performing an emotional cover of “To Beat The Devil” off of Kristofferson’s 1970 debut, Church revealed just how much the song meant to him. “I had this song and Kris save my life,” he said. “And I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for this song, if it weren’t for Kris Kristofferson.” As he explained:

I had a rough time in Nashville, like a lot of people that get told “no” a lot. I played that game where, if I get told “no” one more time, I’m out of here. I’m packing up, and I’m going back to North Carolina. I went into this particular meeting knowing that this was going to be the meeting where it all happens. I remember playing probably half a song, and the guy started waving, and he goes, “I don’t know where you’re from. I don’t know much about you. But I’d go back there.” And that’s one time I was going to. I went to my car in the parking lot of this publishing house, and I had just got The Austin Sessions on a CD, and the next song was “To Beat The Devil.” It talked about the very thing I was going through. So I decided to stay one more day — after I got drunk. I got drunk first, then I stayed one more day, and the next day, I got a publishing deal. Phone rang. So I’m here because of that man right there.

Watch Church’s rendition of the song below.