At this point you might think country superstar Lee Brice needs no introduction. A GRAMMY nominee and CMA and ACM award winner, Lee’s accolades and accomplishments since bursting onto the country scene in 2010 are numerous. They include 11 million in RIAA certified sales, with albums that spawned five platinum and double-platinum Number 1 singles on country radio.
Household names like Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney consider him a peer — each has recorded his songs. He’s performed for oceans of fans at festivals and packed arenas and has appeared on NBC’s Today, ABC’s The Bachelor and The Late Show with David Letterman. The New York Times called him an “evocative” vocalist, while USA Today named him, “one of the finest singer-songwriters country music has to offer.”
But those triumphs only tell a small fraction of Lee’s story. It’s the story of a businessman, who finds time to build a brand like American Born whiskey in between concert dates, hit-writing sessions and cutting soulful vocals in the studio. It’s the story of a family man, dedicated to raising two young boys, 9-year-old Takoda and 3-year-old Ryker, and new daughter Trulee Nanette, born in June, with wife Sara. It’s the story he tells in vivid dimension on Lee Brice, his most personal record to date.
On Nov. 3, Lee unleashes the self-titled, self-co-produced fourth LP on Music Row flagship label Curb Records. The album’s first single, “Boy” — a charming tribute to his sons, who also appear in its endearing music video — is one of the album’s 15 striking tracks that take the listener on journeys to church, school, home and out on a Saturday night.
They brim with wide-open emotional vocal performances, built atop a bedrock of thick grooves, squalling guitars, tumbling drums and sheets of steamy B-3 organ. The album’s big, bold, yet immediately accessible sound is sure to please fans of country gold like “Crazy Girl,” the 2011 country Number 1 Brice co-wrote with Liz Rose for the Eli Young Band. But Lee Brice also boasts a newfound simplicity to tracks like the real life “Songs In The Kitchen,” the soul-searching “What Keeps You Up At Night,” the loving reality check “Boy” and self-recognizing “I Don’t Smoke,” which scrapes Brice’s musical to the bone and features guitars by Warren Haynes.
“So, this album I wanted to be a real organic thing: I play 99% of the lead guitar, my band’s on it – and there’s even a Theremin, which I had to learn to play. When I started, I wanted this record to be groovy, stripped down to the message and the feel.”
“There are no computer tricks, no artificial sounds. Songs that are pleasing to the heart — songs that make you feel something in your heart — they don’t need all that stuff,” Brice explains. “Even when it sounds like a computer, I promise, we figured out a way to make that sound. To me, being real was everything. I wanted to put a little piece of everything about me, everything I am on this record. No two songs are about the same things, but somehow it all hangs together.”
Music seems is genetically hard-wired into the father of three, the embodiment of that guy in the neighborhood everybody knows and loves. It’s what gives “The Locals” its sense of enjoying the ones who are happy right where they were born and raised – and captures the positive outlook in the face of adversity that tempers those facing life’s greatest challenges on the loping “Have a Good Day.”
That same positivity infuses the Bruce Hornsby-evoking “Stories to Tell” with a sense of how powerful every single person’s narrative is. Written with Edwin McCain who guests on the track, it taps into music’s ability to transform each of us – if we’ll let it.
“My hero came to my garage, and we wrote two songs,” he marvels. “Before I came to town, I knew Edwin McCain and his music; went to his concert every year at the House of Blues. Those records, I knew by heart growing up… and he has a lot of the same Southern influences. He knows those same things that matter to me, they’re in his music.”
Lee Brice Track Listing:
1. What Keeps You Up At Night (Lee Brice, Jessi Alexander, Ross Copperman, Pete Wilson)
2. Little Things (Lee Brice, Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason)
3. American Nights (Mike Walker, Austin Jenckes, Jeff Middleton)
4. Boy (Jon Nite, Nicolle Galyon)
5. They Won’t Forget About Us (Lee Brice, Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley)
6. I Don’t Smoke (Lee Brice, Billy Montana, Jon Stone, John Bollinger) *Warren Haynes/Guitars
7. You Can’t Help Who You Love (Lee Brice, Jon Stone, Ashley Gorley)
8. Rumor (Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs, Ashley Gorley)
9. The Locals (Lee Brice, Jon Stone, Brian Bunn)
10. Songs In The Kitchen (Lee Brice, Rob Hatch, Lance Miller)
11. Story To Tell (Little Bird) (Lee Brice, Phillip Lammonds, Edwin McCain)
12. Have A Good Day (Lee Brice, Billy Montana, Randy Montana)
13. Even With My Eyes Closed (Jaren Johnston, Michael Heeney, Neil Mason)
14. Dixie Highway (Lee Brice, Jon Stone, Matraca Berg)
15. Best Part Of Me (Phillip Lammonds, Chris Gelbuda)