Chase Rice recently completed his first ever trip to the UK and was astounded by the fan reaction to him over here. It was definitely a case of ‘if you build it, they will come’. We caught him with him before his Birmingham show to chat about the past, the future and his new album.
Great to meet up with you Chase. How’s the UK tour going?
Amazing! Most of the shows are sold out, which we just didn’t expect. Birmingham is the only show that didn’t sell out, but I’m OK with that – it tells me that I have a little more work to do here. It drives you on. We’ll come back and try to sell it out next time.
My expectations were zero to be honest – I didn’t expect anyone to come to my shows. I didn’t know why or how they would know who I am, but people have not only showed up, the crowds seem to know every word to every single song! It’s mind-blowing!
We’re kinda trying to build something from the ground up, which is how we did it in the States. I’d like to come back for another tour, with the band next time, before we then play a festival like C2C. I’ve been friends with the guys in Cadillac Three for a long time and they’ve been coming here for years – we have the same management – and I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to come over, so I’m glad to be finally here.
Have you managed to see the sights whilst over here?
I’ve done about as much as you can possibly do in the time allowed. I went to see Manchester City play whilst we were up there. I’ve got a lot of people hating me right now for doing that! I just wanted to see a football game and it was awesome.
When you come back to the UK will it be with the full band then?
Oh yeah. It’s cool to have dipped out toes in the water with these acoustic shows, you know. But it’s gone so well that I’ve told every crowd so far that we’ll be back with a full band so I’d better not let them down! I’ve built my career with a full band but we couldn’t do that this time so it’s cool that we’ll be back. My new label has offices in London so it’s definitely a place we are interested in right now.
It’s been a frustrating couple of years for you until this year’s move to Broken Bow?
Oh, it was horrible! I don’t shy away from telling people the truth. I don’t know what my previous label wanted from me, I just know that they weren’t supporting me. They let me go and I was grateful for them for that. They didn’t make me fight to get out, they let me go, clean slate and I got to take my record with me and that was a big thing for them to do that so I appreciate them – the record (Lambs & Lions) is a big record so its good that its beginning to validate what I always believed.
Did you get unfairly tagged as being part of the Bro-Country movement? (Chase co-wrote ‘Cruise’ with Florida Georgia Line)
I don’t know, the biggest thing I’ve tried to do with Lambs & Lions was not to care about Bro-Country, about Chris Stapleton or about what anyone else was doing. Brothers Osborne and Sam Hunt are all great artists and you mention them in the same sentence and it shouldn’t make sense, but it does. The whole Bro-Country thing? I don’t pay attention to that, I wanna do the music that I wanna do and that’s what Lambs & Lions is.
It’s a very diverse album. From the rock of ‘Lions’ to the modern sound of ‘Unforgettable’ to the straight country of ‘This Cowboy’s Hat’.
It is, yes. We’ve got some Pink Floyd / Lost Boys kids chanting in the chorus on Lions. ‘Eyes on You’ is a monster song and then there’s just me and a piano on ‘Amen’. It’s all over the map, which is what I wanted.
Your songwriting seems to have developed since ‘Ignite the Night’ as well.
It better have! It’s been years since we wrote that one! It’s gotten out there that I’ve bashed my last album (Ignite the Night) which is not true – there’s a lot of stuff on that record that I’m real proud of, but there’s a few things on it that I wish weren’t out there. It is of it’s time and it’s a learning process, being a musician, and that’s okay with me! Instead of writing about slapping a woman on the ass, I’m learning to express myself a little deeper, things like ‘Eyes on You’ and ‘Unforgettable’ are more mature, more nuanced than some of my previous songs.
‘Amen’ is really the heart of the new record. I’ve not played that live yet and I don’t know when I’ll do that. We’re gonna do a video for that one, which I really want to come out first, so people can see it before we add it into the live set. Hopefully we might be able to release that video sometime around Christmas.
We thought your video for ‘Three Chords and the Truth’ was lovely. Very moving.
Yes, I wanted to find someone and give them the gift of a guitar. Three chords and the truth is the very definition of Country music and I wanted to give the gift of music to someone who maybe couldn’t or wasn’t able to chase that dream on their own. The boy in the video is actually the boy we chose to give the guitar to. When you see me walk up to him in the video it is real – he didn’t know I was coming at all. He thought he was doing a video for hemophiliacs on Youtube and I walked up and he just looked at me like, what? He was real confused. It was cool to do something different like that. The boy, Nicholas, has been to two shows since and got up on stage and sung with me too.
We’ve got to talk about your cover of ‘This Cowboy’s Hat’. That takes some balls to cover an untouchable Country classic!!
It’s my favourite song on the record! I knew that if I did it by myself I probably wouldn’t do it justice! So I got a hold of Mac McAnally to produce it and through a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, got hold of Chris LeDoux’s (the original writer & singer) son, Ned, to lend me a hand. Both of our father’s have passed away and I like to think they are both smiling down on us with this song. It was one of my Dad’s favourite songs. You can’t cover it unless you nail it and I knew bringing in Ned would go some of the way towards doing both dad’s proud. It tips it’s hat towards the original and it sounds just like Chris when Ned is talking! Ned does the verses and I do the chorus. Ned wanted to be part of introducing that style of music to a younger crowd, he texted me, literally two days ago, and said, ‘Good job, pard.” Hopefully we can sing it together on an awards show, or something and continue to blow the song up.
‘Lambs & Lions’ is out now on Broken Bow Records/BMG.
— LYRIC magazine (@LYRICmagazine) December 15, 2017
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