Chase Rice has pursued paths as divergent as the ACC college gridiron to NASCAR Pit Lane; North Carolina to Nashville. And while his journey has swerved, his resolve to follow his personal truth has been unwavering. His accumulated experience, creative focus, and athletic drive are evident in his latest release, Lambs & Lions, which is available Friday (Nov. 17 on Broken Bow Records).
As he ramps up to the release, Rice has been steadfast in his desire to bring his new music directly to his fans, throwing Lambs & Lions listening parties for fans across the country and unveiling the “We Are Lions” contest, which calls on students to show their school spirit by entering for a chance to win a free Chase Rice concert at their school.
As he first announced to a packed crowd of fans in Nashville last week, Rice has partnered with the CMA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Country Music Association, to help fund music education programs across the U.S. To that end, Rice will be donating the profits from album sales at listening parties in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York City, and Phoenix to the Foundation, along with the proceeds to his sold-out shows at the celebrated Grizzly Rose in Denver this Friday and Saturday.
Rice hinted at his plans to use Lambs & Lions as a vehicle to support music education over a month ago with the music video for first single “Three Chords & The Truth.” In a treatment he created himself, the video follows Rice as he surprises a young fan battling hemophilia by showing up to his home with a new guitar and personally giving him his first music lesson. The closing slate of the music video is an invitation to find out more about music education programs at CMAfoundation.org.
“Three Chords & The Truth,” is already in the Top 40 and climbing at country radio and digital retailers. It’s a song he believes in due to the personal transformative power of discovering songs such as “Amazing Grace,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Mama Tried,” and how they changed his life. “It’s personal in the sense that it goes back to high school and what it meant to me to hear those songs for the first time,” he said. “Three Chords & The Truth” captures the power of following my dream to Nashville and namechecks my heroes Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.”
It’s a fresh approach and Rice is doing it his way. With a new label, Broken Bow Records, and a renewed sense of creative purpose, Rice is making music that draws from multiple sources and influences but is unified by his vision, integrity, and honesty.
“This is an album that stands for what I stand for,” said Rice. “I don’t think of myself as a country artist specifically—I’m here to be an artist, period. I’m very proud of the country genre, and I think we have some big country radio songs on here, but outside of that, there’s a story I wanted to tell, regardless of genre. I had to completely put out of my mind what anyone else would think. I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied until I took it as far as I possibly could.”
The 10 songs on Lambs & Lions derive from Rice’s life and experience, triumphs and disappointments, and ultimately his determination to stand up for his convictions. Produced by Ross Copperman, Chris DeStefano, Mac MacAnally and Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Cold War Kids), Lambs & Lions offers up sounds from the stirring horns on the title track to the spare piano and swelling choir of “Amen.” And it also reflects the unconventional path that led him to make music in the first place.