Chase Rice is ready to embark on a new chapter of his career. Starting off strong with his latest release, “Key West & Colorado,” Rice gives fans a small taste of what’s to come on his next album.
“This is genuinely my best record ever,” Rice shared with confidence.
Following the journey of someone who’s trying to heal from a breakup and figure out what to do next in life, “Key West & Colorado” gives hope that good things can come from even the most difficult situations. It was co-written with Brian Kelley after Rice accidentally sparked inspiration through a caption on social media.
While on vacation in Key West, FL, the “Ready Set Roll” singer made the decision to skip his original plan to stop in Nashville and instead headed straight for Colorado. Not going home to Nashville meant he only had his flip-flops and swim trunks packed, which isn’t exactly proper snowboarding attire. So after doing some necessary shopping, Rice posted a photo with the caption that read, “A trip straight from Key West to Colorado, with only beach clothes, is not advisable.”
The words, “Key West & Colorado” captured Kelley’s attention and inspired him to start writing a song about it. While floating on a boat during a boy’s trip in Florida, the two country artists got to work.
“He had a working idea on it already,” Rice revealed to Country Now. “I flipped it immediately and said, ‘what if we did it this way,’ which is what you end up hearing. He was all-in immediately because he knew it was more real to me. That’s what we ended up turning it into. We were on a boat that day and accidentally wrote a song.”
The unreleased music video behind the song follows Rice from Florida to the panhandle of Texas and ends on the border of Colorado. Much like his new process for writing music, Rice chose not to take the easy way out with this video. Instead of just doing a performance scene, he hit the road and created a real adventure to showcase the genuineness of the emotions in this song.
“We had an unbelievable time on the trip.”
He sings, “Somewhere between Key West and Colorado/ I found god in a gold Silverado/had to get a little lost to get a little found/ learned you can’t find love if you don’t slow down.”
In addition to building the anticipation from clips shared on social media, Rice has also been performing the song acoustically throughout his stint as a guest on Kane Brown’s Blessed & Free Tour. Playing the song itself was an eye-opening experience for Rice as hearing the crowd singing the lyrics of a song that had yet to be released back to him was the reassurance he needed.
“It was awesome. It was shocking to me, to be honest, because it’s a song that nobody knows, which usually doesn’t get that type of reaction. That was kind of what led me to believe so much in the song. It kinda went both ways. I believed in it so much that I chose to sing it and when I was singing it, I believed in it and loved it. They could feel that as well, so they gave it back to me.”
It’s been made clear that this song is already a hit on the acoustic guitar, but Rice wanted to make sure the rest of the tracks off his forthcoming album emulate the same feelings for him.
“If I didn’t wanna learn ’em on an acoustic guitar, then we weren’t gonna record it,” he explained.
The North Carolina native placed “Key West & Colorado” at the center of this album because although each of the tracks will be just as good, if not better, this one just hits him in a different way.
“It just has that heart to where, when I sing it, it’s a whole other level of realness to me.”
If Rice could sum up his forthcoming album in three words, they would be “genuine, real, and authentic.” He chose to take a completely different creative path for this project, but as he explained, the music he’s making now has been a long time coming.
“This album is the heart of who I am from the time I was a kid to now. It’s where I am in life now, writing all these songs on an acoustic guitar and becoming a better songwriter over the years. It’s just that much better of a product.”
Finding creativity in the serenity of his Tennessee home, Rice chose to turn his living room into a studio and recorded every track of the album there.
“This is a completely different thing than what I’ve done before,” he explained honestly. “We’re all real.”
Many of the usual recording tools were taken out of the process to eliminate the robotic sounds and humanize it more. Instead of using click tracks and pre-programmed music beds, he incorporated a vintage stand-up piano, guitars, and drums and recorded many of the vocals in one take.
“Even the keys that I’m singing in, it may take ’em a second to realize it’s me because I’m singing the right keys for my voice. I’m not singing as high as I used to because I’m not a high singer, it’s not my thing. It’s different all around, but it’s 10 years into making, so I’m fired up.”
Time off the road was the kickstarter for this new and improved creative process as it gave him the chance to step back and return to the days when it was just him and his acoustic guitar.
“I really, really enjoyed it. I was like, man, I forgot that I used to write songs like this without tracks, without the fancy stuff and without even [other] songwriters. Sometimes, it was just me.”
He added, “people are gonna hear a big, big difference, but they’re gonna really hear me for the first time the way that I’ve always imagined in my career.”
Although this change can be scary, any ounce of fear is worth the incredible amount of joy Rice now feels with the music he’s creating.
According to Rice, fans should expect to hear the full project by the end of this year or early next year. Before its release, the singer will head back out on the road to Join Jason Aldean for a few stops on his Rock N’ Roll Cowboy Tour, beginning October 7.