Lee Brice has written songs for a lot of huge Nashville names--Garth Brooks, anyone?--and he's also responsible for penning the most played track on country radio for 2011, the Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl." But, he's also working hard for himself--his own "Love Like Crazy" dominated country airwaves in 2010, and he just hit No. 1 with his latest single "A Woman Like You." Brice's new record
This week marks the release of his sophomore album, Hard 2 Love. Since Brice is the very definition of a songwriter-slash-performer (it's up to you to determine which he's better at--it's pretty hard to decide), we thought it would be fun to sit down with him and get his personal anecdotes about each track on the new record...which, naturally, he wrote or co-wrote most of himself!
"Hard To Love"--This song sums up who I am in a serious way, but also in a cheeky way. I'm a real guy's guy, and we're insensitive at times, because we're guys. We're hard to love. I went on a writing retreat with some friends, and while I was in another room, three of them wrote this song for me. When I heard it, I was like, "You gotta be kidding me!" Because it was like I wrote it myself.
"A Woman Like You"--The girl in the song asks, "What would you do if you never met me?" And the guy goes, "You want to know the truth? I'd probably be doing just what I was doing then, looking for you." He's walking a thin line there for a minute, but then he's able to hook it to say something every woman wants to hear. I thought, "Dude, this is a smash."
"That's When You Know It's Over"--One of my favorite songs. We sat down, and that song just fell out of us in a couple of hours. It was like magic. It has that "alt" thing about it. Musically, it's my heart, just really, really me. That's where I live and love.
"Parking Lot Party"--We were pretty far into the album, and we had all of these deep songs that meant something and mattered. And we realized we needed something fun that people could sit on their tailgates, drink a beer, relax, and rock out with, especially for the live shows. It has a little bit of early '90s rock influence, like a grungy Weezer thing going on.
"Don't Believe Everything You Think"-- I'd started thinking a lot more seriously about the future. But my girlfriend, Sara, had these episodes where she'd say, "We are not on the same page! I'm more ready than you!" Well, I didn't want her to necessarily know when or if a proposal was coming. I'd go, "Hush, quit being crazy! You know I love you, and I'm going to ask you. But quit messing with me. Leave me alone!" So we wrote this song and now I'm getting married.
"I Drive Your Truck"--One of the publishers said, "I know you're looking for some lighter stuff, but I've got a song that we feel is the song of the year." They played it, and I started losing it in front of everybody. It just killed me. It made me think about my granddaddy, and everybody I'd lost. Connie Herrington, one of the writers, said that one day she heard an interview on the radio. This couple was talking about their son, who had always wanted to be a soldier. When he turned 18, he went straight to the military, and within like a month, he was killed. The interviewer said, "How in the world do you deal with that?" And the mother said, "We get in his truck and drive it around. We feel like he's there and it pulls us through." I was going into the studio the next day, and I said, "I'll cut this tomorrow." It's one of the most heartfelt things on the record.
"See About A Girl"--Kyle Jacobs is one of my best friends. We wrote "More than a Memory" together, and he's married to Kellie Pickler. One day we were out having a beer, and he was about to call Kellie. He said, "I've got to go see about a girl." I thought, "We've got to write that some day." It ended up being one of my favorite songs on the album. It doesn't make any huge point, and it's not going to change the world. But who knows? It might change somebody's world.
"Friends We Won't Forget"--I had dinner with a bunch of writers and publishers in Nashville and somebody raised a glass and said, "Here's to a night you won't remember, and the friends we won't forget." I thought, "Wow," and I started looking around to see if anybody else caught that, and I plugged it into my phone.
"Life Off My Years"--Eric Church wrote this song and when I first heard it, I thought, "That song makes its point in a very cool Garth kind of a way." It says what I want to tell people about who I am--that maybe I'm a little reckless sometimes, but I'd rather take a couple of years off my life than take the life out of my years. Life is too short. Who knows how long I'm going to be here?
"Seven Days A Thousand Times"--This is one of the top two or three songs I've written. It's probably the best track on the album, even from the first line, "The Saturday downpour carved out rivers in the sand." It's got this dream quality, and a really beautiful melody. We wrote it on one of those magical days where everything just fell into place. It's about spending a seven-day vacation at the beach and meeting somebody. The twist is that it was pouring down rain, and gray and misty and overcast the whole seven days. But in the guy's mind, it was perfect and the most incredible thing he ever experienced. He's lived those seven days a thousand times. I wrote it about meeting Sara.
"Beer"--Oh man, what a cool song! It starts out as a good feeling country song, all laid back and easy going like Billy Currington, and then it goes into heavy rock. My band is really a rock 'n' roll band at heart, and they play my music with a passion. "Beer" just has that going on, and I thought, "What redneck country listener isn't going to want to scream a song titled 'Beer?'" The simple images in the song are all true, and I wanted people to see that that part of me is still there. I love playing it live, so we're going to really rock it in my live shows.
"That Way Again" --This song says, "Girls, if your guy's not appreciating you or giving you the things you need, you need to tell him. Maybe he's oblivious or maybe he just doesn't care. But either way, you've got to let him know." It says a lot to guys too. So many people have come to me and said that song really touched them.
"One More Day"--"One More Day" is so precious to me. I wrote it with my keyboard player, Reggie Smith, about being gone on the road all the time. It goes directly to Sara and our son, Takoda, because I know how much Sara gives, and I know how much I take. I totally get it. And it's like you're always saying, "Just give me one more day." Hopefully, in the future, I'll be able to say it was worth it to work so hard. Right now, she gives me the freedom to follow my dream. And she helps me every day with it. This is a gift to the two of them.