Here’s more from our chat with Brice on the record, his touring aspirations and his touchstone artists.
C&I: First of all, congrats on the No. 1 single, as well as winning an ACM award for the song you co-wrote for Eli Young Band (“Crazy Girl”). I’m sure the last weeks have been a whirlwind.
Brice: It’s been awesome, because all the work and time and efforts of myself and everyone around me is paying off a bit, with stuff happening. But it’s been a total whirlwind, from California to New York to Texas to Minneapolis to the Carolinas to Florida and back again for the last three weeks. … But when the fish are bitin’, you gotta fish.
C&I: Tell me about the recording of the album -- where you were emotionally and all that.
Brice: My label and I were in a spot where we were ready to move forward, and I wanted to try some new things. … I just started making music with my friends. So I went in and, over a year, was able to dig in where my life was and make an honest record. That’s what I wanted. I wanted it to be “best song wins.” Didn’t want to have a dud on it.
C&I: And it seems you ended up showing two sides of yourself – the good-time partier and the sensitive family man. What does your wife-to-be think of the party side?
Brice: Sara, she doesn’t always party right along with me. She’s an early go-to-bedder, and she’s always there with Takoda. But I have embraced being home with them, not necessarily out partying. There’s always the Lee Brice that will be the life of the party, and I like to have fun at shows. But you can see all over the album where I am in my life. And Sara loves the wild side AND the daddy side.
C&I: Tell me a little about the artists who changed you growing up, the ones you think of as touchstones.
Brice: Garth Brooks was a huge influence, just how he carried himself as an artist, the songs he sang, and the stories he told. And then there’s Edwin McCain, his soulfulness and vocals, the way he soared. Hank Jr. and Willie Nelson were big ones for me, the songwriting of those guys and their attitudes. But there was always Aerosmith and Guns ‘N’ Roses, too. The rock ’n’ roll always drove me, and even their ballads … “November Rain” and ones like that. I just love a big, wide variety of artists. And they all kind of come out on this record.
C&I: Not that your music is all that similar to Garth’s, but I definitely see his influence. Some of the new songs definitely seem to reach for audiences outside the country world.
Brice: It’s not that I want to find fans outside of country. I’m just not necessarily trying to reach anybody in particular. I wanted to make the record that was inside of me; that’s it.
C&I: I could also see you going with a big, Garth-style touring production as you get more resources. Is that something you want?
Brice: Oh yeah. Every dime I have, I put into my little show and make it bigger than what it is. It’s what people go to shows to see, and I want to do it. But I also love the side of the shows where you hang your feet off the side of the stage with just a guitar. That’s what I was saying about the album being a roller-coaster ride.
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