One of the most anticipated country music shows of the year for Central New York is this week’s headliners Lee Brice and Chris Young, as they come to the Syracuse, OnCenter War Memorial. As Lee and Chris kick off their nationwide tour that will take them across America and the Pacific Ocean from Syracuse, NY to Hawaii, Kathy had a moment to speak with Lee about his musical career and future projects.
Kathy Stockbridge: Lee, I want to thank you so much for agreeing to talk to today.
Lee Brice: Well hey there Kathy, how are you?
KS: Well I am doing great, thank you. Although New York has a reputation of being cold and frigid, we certainly are looking forward to giving you and Chris Young a warm Central NY welcome this week here in Syracuse when you arrive.
LB: I cannot wait to get there. This will be mine and Chris’ first show together of the year, so we’re excited too!
KS: Oh my, I think we are all over the moon with excitement to have both of you at the same time. This is awesome! Now you grew up in Sumter, SC, which is right down the street from my happy place, Charleston, SC. You have been singing and playing your whole life, talk to us a little about how the music bug bit you and the journey it’s taken you on.
LB: Well, it’s a thing that’s just been in me, the music, since I was a kid. I played to play, and sang to sing. It never left me. I went off to high school, and college, and worked some, but music just kept on calling to me. So I went off to Nashville. I felt that as long as I kept working hard at things, it kept working for me, and it’s been a beautiful ride.
KS: You have been tearing up the charts with hit after hit, but I don’t think people realize you’ve been in the business for a lot of years both performing and writing songs. You have penned some of the most famous songs around Nashville over the last few years. Talk to us a little bit about that songwriting process and how you came from writing songs, to performing, and the transition to where you are today.
LB: I was always writing the songs to sing them. When I came to Nashville, I had been writing since I was about 10, I had a little bit more success early on as a songwriter than as an artist… it worked well for me as I was able to take those songs on the road and play them. I think there’s nothing better than being a songwriter.
KS: And you have a knack for it. Your songs touch on subjects we can all relate to. Songs like “Drinking Class”, it just epitomizes us as hardworking, fun loving people, “I Don’t Dance”, and “I Drive My Truck”, these songs tell stories and touch on real life feelings. Now how do you decide to keep a song or give it away to someone else to sing? How does that work?
LB: It’s one of those things you can’t put a finger on. There have been a couple of songs I wanted to keep for myself that I ended up giving away and they worked out okay.
KS: I give you credit, I think I would be territorial and say, “No, that’s mine”. Must be hard to give them away. I also want to thank you and Sara both for sharing with us moments of your wedding…as a photographer I cannot tell you how much I loved the video on “I Don’t Dance”, I loved the vintage look. Share with us how you came about saying, I want to share that part of my life with my audience. A lot of artists are guarded, they don’t want to share such intimate details, and you and Sara opened your lives up and put it out there for the rest of the world to enjoy and relate to you folks. Talk to me about the video.
LB: Yes, Sara definitnely is very private so I was very happy when she was okay with the idea of us sharing some of the wedding footage. I knew I had written “I Don’t Dance” and I had this feeling that I wanted to have some wedding footage in it. I just thought, that it was just “us” (the concept) and I wanted to share her all over the world. So I brought in a guy to shoot footage on that old 8mm film. I wanted it to feel really really real, so I had plans for it back then. Then with Sara’s help, she helped decide what would and wouldn’t go in the video so that it was just right. She helped me so much on that video. Our next door neighbor was producer and we both got to go right into the studio with him as we were editing, so she got really deep into that one. So a lot of what you’re seeing, is Sara.
KS: I have to say, it is absolutely beautiful. Thank you both so much for sharing all that with us. I truly loved it. Now, I Don’t Dance is your third album, and you produced this album. Explain if you would to our readers, what it is mean to produce an album and how much does that play a part in the finished product you put out to your fans.
LB: Well producing an album is having a part in every single aspect of the album. From the music, and every single part of that music, to where it gets recorded, how it gets recorded, and the songs that go on it, the order they go on it…I mean there’s a lot that goes on besides just the music, and then on top of that the producer oversees exactly what the music needs to be. Me as an artist, I’m not really trying to be a producer, I just want to make my own music.
KS: Right, I understand.
LB: I want to do what my ears are hearing and kinda be true to me, but I have co-producers that I work with as well and they are really awesome. They help keep me on the path, and we work so well together, were just great friends so it works out really great.
KS: This winter tour that you and Chris as starting this week will take you across the nation, staring in frigid, Syracuse, NY and ending in balmy Hawaii. I know, someone has to do these tough jobs. We’re so excited to kick it off here for you this week. Tell us in addition to the tour what are some future projects we can share with our readers to watch out for?
LB: Well, I am producing a couple other folks that are right on the crest of some great things happening. Just some amazing artists; there’s American Young who is actually my co-producer Jon Stone’s band, and so I’m actually producing their record with them. That’s really exciting. I’m also working on some stuff with my brother, Lewis, and we’re in the studio working on some things that are almost finished. I’m also working with a band called Sister C, three sisters who are amazing. So, check them out, American Young, Lewis Brice, and Sister C.
KS: I definitely will. Thank you again Lee for taking the time to speak to our readers. We are really looking forward to this week with you coming to Syracuse, and wish you all the best as you tour across America. Thank you so much.
LB: Thank you so much, you were so wonderful.
As I ended the interview with Lee, I stopped to reflect on what a down to earth decent guy he was, and how easy he made the interview. Someone great once said that all an interview is, is a conversation between two folks. Sometimes those conversations are just enjoyable and that’s the category this one fell into. As someone who loves what he does this much, Lee will most definitely bring it to the stage and leave it behind for those he entertains. This is one show I am eagerly anticipating.
Hope to see you all at The Oncenter War Memorial, this Thursday, at 7:30 pm for Lee Brice, Chris Young, and the Brothers Osborne in one of Central NY’s country highlights this year. Tickets can be purchased online at for $41.50, $37 and $31.50 (additional fees may apply); they will be available in person at the Solvay Bank Box Office at The Oncenter (760 S. State Street), charge by phone (315.435.2121) or online via Ticketmaster.com.