"Lambs & Lions" is Chase Rice's third album, his first on Broken Bow records, produced by Chris DeStefano, Mac MacAnally and, perhaps unexpectedly Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom waits, Norah Jones) and represents something of a new direction. Whilst his first album "Dirt Road Communion" had a raw bro country feel to it, his second 2014's "Ignite the Night" was a much more studio produced album with bassy electronic backing, including the platinum single “Ready Set Roll” and the gold “Gonna Wanna Tonight.” The cover for "Lambs & Lions" seems to capture him in a suitably contemplative mood and that certainly is reflected at times in the material.
“Lions” makes you wonder what you’re about to listen to, opening as it does with a recitation of the "Lords Prayer" by what sounds like an American football team over a scuzzy guitar line before moving into the heart of the song. With deep male backing vocalists and a thunderous drum beat there is the feel of a chain gang or a group of men bonded by a common grievance. With a strong hook and chorus, this seems set to be an attention grabbing opener.
By contrast “On Tonight” has a pop country feel to it, using some classic country clichés in the lyrics. The chorus is built to be sung back by the crowd at a concert. There is some tidy drumming and effective whistling that appears throughout the track.To further ring the changes, the third song is the ballad style of “Unforgettable”. Much more of a love song, with backing singers again prominent. This song is almost a duet, much slower, more sensual.as he ponders whether it would have been better to have never met, than to realise "Girl I'd have never let you go". if he'd known she'd be so "Unforgettable". It's a vulnerable side to Chase and could easily account for that cover picture.
“Eyes on You” has elements of spoken and sung lyrics, a little bit like Sam Hunt’s “Break Up In A Small Town”. This is played on piano and comes with a chorus that is both simple and yet extremely effective as it refuses to leave your mind. “Saved Me” is again Chase in contemplative mood pondering the mistakes he may have made in his earlier years and realising he needs to change to hold on to the one he wants.. A slow song with almost spiritual elements to it in with the title as it does referring to being "saved",
“One Love, One Kiss, One Drink, One Song” starts very like a Sam Hunt spoken word song, but has a definite whoah element to it, ideal for crowd participation attached to a slightly clunky chorus. In the context of the previous song it sounds a bit out of place. No Chase Rice album would be complete without a Jack Daniels/Drinking song. True to form “Jack Daniels Showed Up” at track 7 on the album. Quite why JD features so heavily in country music is unclear, although you can probably claim the Tennessee heritage has something to do with it! This track has an old-style Florida Georgia line feel and why not after all Chase was part of the team that wrote their diamond-certified smash “Cruise". It details the perils or indeed the joys of what happens when you crack open a bottle!
“Three Chords & The Truth” tells the archetypal songwriters story and is a song that will surely stand the test of time and is likely to be a regular feature in any future shows. Defining the joy classic songs can bring, it name checks a number, including "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Ring of Fire" & "Copperhead Road". This is definitely one of the stand out tracks on the album.
The next track opens with just Chase and a piano for “Amen”. Once again the spiritual theme surfaces This is Chase showing off his maturity and development as an artist, even including a gospel choral backing and lush strings! You can almost feel the lighters in the air!
The closing song “This Cowboys’ Hat” is a cover of a song by singer and rodeo champion Chris LeDoux and features his son Ned Ledoux. If you like a Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash style storyline songs then you love it it’s a spoken word song but with a cracking acoustic and electric guitar and leads to a sung chorus. The song builds to a huge climax and is a fitting way to close the album and is a tribute i'm sure Chris would approve of. This is a real nice nod to classic country and shows Chase to be capable of delivering a number of styles across the genre.
Chase Rice's will be touring the UK throughout December