Album Review: Chase Rice - Dirt Road Communion

Chase Rice first appeared on our radar a year ago with his Country As Me EP. The singer/songwriter recently released his full-length debut. Read on to see what we have to say about Dirt Road Communion here.

Dirt Road Communion is the kind of DYI album that the internet has allowed artists to make. Gone are the days when all of the artists will sign away their life or potential earnings in order for their dream to come true. Now the artists have multiple avenues through internet sources to make a career and with a lot of hard work and the drive to succeed they can, provided that they have the talent to do so. Dirt Road Communion certainly showcases this.

The album's lead single (listen here) "How She Rolls" finds Rice showcasing his charming vocal style, which is much more stylist than vocal dynamo, and his strong songwriting skills are immediately evident on this song about a girl who is who she is, a natural, fun-loving sort of gal that is every guys dream.

Other tempo-filled tunes on the record include the title track which features a hook that sticks with you while "PBJ's & PBR's" chronicles the fun, carefree life that college student life often is. Not only that but it's an ear-pleasing uptempo tune with a nostalgic theme for those of us past the college life chronicled here or right on point for those of us who are in college now.

"Whoa" is an interesting song in that it features both interesting production (southern rock vibes) with a rap in the end. The song is from the same school that "Dirt Road Anthem" is from and certainly will appeal to fans of that song. "Pop A Top Off (Good Time On)" is another tempo-filled tune which works with a party mix. Which is the whole point of the song."You Ain't Livin' Yet" is the only song on the record not written by Chase Rice (Jaron Boyer and Ben Stennis), and as such it may be the most conventional mainstream music row song on the record but it certainly has a nice feel to it, with lyrics about living your life to the fullest instead of letting it pass you by.

"Country Boy's Kryptonite" is a playful tune that finds Rice and his co-writers (Florida-Georgia Line and Jesse Rice) singing about of the things that can get a country boy into trouble and hurting while "Only A Country Girl" seems to be a song about the girl that can be the Kryptonite of the previous song. A song that may be written as a joke, "I Like Drinking, Because It's Fun" certainly needs no explanation outside of the title now, does it? It's just fun.

I've spent quite a few words discussing the uptempo tunes on the record and while there all strong and/or fun, the meat that keeps me coming back to Dirt Road Communion is the ballads. Coming straight out of the school of Garth Brooks or contemporary Lee Brice is "The Little Things," a sweet, sweet ballad about how the simple things in life are all that a woman needs to have the life of her dreams. it's interesting in that the song is missing a third verse but Rice explains in the liner notes that he's waiting on his future wife to inspire the final verse. That being said, he still loved the song enough to put it on this record (a move that would rarely happen on a big label release). "Room 205" is a haunting story song about what happened with a couple over the years at "the Conway Motor Inn." It's a story that is sort of a sequel to Garth Brooks' seminal "The Thunder Rolls."

"Shades Of Green" is a Tim McGraw-like story song about all the good things that the color green can give us in life while "Happy Hour" shows an insight into the creation of a song (it's a work tape). Two of the best songs on the record are certainly "Every Song I Sing" and "Jack Daniels and Jesus." The former is a song written about the hurt a song man can go through when a relationship ends because of his songwriting and vagabond life of a singer/songwriter and how that relationship informs everything he does while "Jack Daniels & Jesus" finds Chase singing of the dichotomy that is the pull between heaven and hell that often tugs at our lives.

Dirt Road Communionis a diverse, well-crafted modern country album. It showcases Chase Rice as a talented stylist with a conversational, charming singing ability and the ability to connect with both tempo and ballads in a way that makes Chase Rice his own artist and not a carbon copy of anyone else past or present and that, my friends, is a true mark of an artist ready to burst into stardom.