Rodney Rice – Self-Titled
Years ago, Rodney Rice was working on oil and gas rigs in Texas when he struck up a conversation one night with Jason McKenzie, the longtime drummer for the late/great Billy Joe Shaver. McKenzie suggested Rice, A nascent singer and songwriter at this point, check out the Congress House studio in Austin, where Rice would eventually pull together his first two albums. It’s fitting that he not only had that interaction with McKenzie and recorded at Congress House as his latest has echoes influences of everyone from Shaver, Ray Willie Hubbard and Robert Earl Keen (all alumni of Congress studio) throughout.
His strongest showing yet, this self-titled effort is a dive into timeless Americana and unassuming Country that doesn’t take itself too seriously even if some of the topics and themes are. Like his influences, it’s Rice’s humor that shines through the strongest. Songs like “Rabbit Ears Motel,” with its telecaster twang and steel guitar serving as the perfect backdrop to his lyrics that will be familiar to anyone who has ever stayed in a roadside motel with a neon sign and empty pool.
Elsewhere on “Roll River” he sings in first person from a coal miner with little to look forward to. He covers a lot of ground on this record from death to the monotony of being a traveling musician and romantic relationships – the good and bad. The album closes on “Every Passing Day,” a song that on its surface is a pessimist rant about what we are facing as a society, but ends on a surprisingly hopeful note: “Keep protesting in every town/‘Till one day change it comes around/When that is, I can’t say/It’s just another passing day.”
The record builds perfectly from 2020’s Same Shirt Different Day, a solid record on its own. But his latest effort is much more consistent, with hardly a weak moment on it. Smart writing, satisfying vocals and relatable themes all make for an impressive album.
Find the music here: https://www.rodneyrice.com
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Video Premiere: Rodney Rice “Rabbit Ears Motel”