Grammy Insider: Eric Church Loves Bruce Springsteen

02/03/2013 at 09:00 AM EST

Grammy Insider: Eric Church Loves Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Kevin Mazur/Wireimage
As a child of the '80s, I was exposed to Bruce Springsteen with Born in the U.S.A. But as I went to college, I became more educated in his music, and it led me on a hell of a journey.

He's writing about experience and real life. "Darkness on the Edge of Town" spoke to me: It was gritty, real and raw. And the escapism in a song like "Thunder Road" – everybody should want that sense of freedom sometimes. Seeing Bruce in concert, I'm always amazed at what the crowd gives and what Bruce gives.

It's a gang and it's a mentality, like, "We get it. We belong." It's a religious experience. Bruce heard my song "Springsteen," and I got a great note from him, saying he was a big fan. It just blew me away. The note is locked up. So if my house burns down, I know it's safe somewhere.

The Boss will be honored as 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year.

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