CMA Awards

Eric Church drops surprise album, performs title track at CMA Awards

Country music star Eric Church performs on the main stage during the first day of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, California April 25, 2014.

Country music star Eric Church performs on the main stage during the first day of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, California April 25, 2014.  (Reuters)

Surprise! Eric Church dropped a new album the day of the Country Music Association Awards.

Church announced late Wednesday the release of his new album "Mr. Misunderstood." He performed the title track at the CMAs Wednesday night at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

Church posted a letter and said the album came about after he wrote his first song on a new guitar "late this summer/" Twenty days after that, he had 18 songs, and in 20 more days, he had recorded 10.

The album is the follow-up to last year's "The Outsiders," which was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Church, along with Little Big Town, was the top nominee at the CMAs with five nods.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.