The Music Farm was near capacity last Wednesday night for a performance from contemporary country singer Lee Brice. The crowd was diverse in age and appearance, ranging from the young fellows clad in Hollister to older attendees who could have come straight from their deer stands to the venue. They all patiently waded in and gathered by the stage to wait for Brice's set.
Following acoustic opener Nick Norman's set, Brice and his band took to the stage a little after 10 p.m. The crowd moved even closer to the stage as Lee slammed into "Sumter County Friday Night," a rocking homage to growing up in the small-town South. Brice followed next with "Carolina Boys" to the delight of the crowd.
There were some feedback issues that seemed to linger, but the band was undeterred. Lee easily moved through his catalog of songs with his soulful baritone and superb group of backing players. The lyrics and tone of the music was distinctly country with a rock 'n' roll flair from the lead electric guitar and organ. Some of the highlights were irreverent songs like "Redneckin'" and "Upper Middle Class White Trash," but the biggest moment of the evening was Lee's rendition of "Love Like Crazy," the hot new single from his latest album Picture of Me (Curb). The song whipped the crowd into a tizzy.
The lighting was tasteful, and Lee's easy banter with the audience added an extra spice to an already entertaining show. It was an outstanding night that further confirms the Lowcountry's love for good ol' country music.
(Mike Thompson had a chance to sit with Brice in the Music Farm's green room just before the set, and he asked him a few questions):
City Paper: Over your past few shows here, what is your impression of country music fans in Charleston?
Lee Brice: Well, country music fans are always awesome, but coming here, these country fans are my fans 'cause I'm from here. It always feels so good to come home. And this place has kind of been a rock club for a while, and not a lot of country acts came through. But it's always packed out for us, and we couldn't be more appreciative.
CP: Of all the shows you have played over the past few years, is there one memorable moment that stands out?
LB: A lot of places are cool — from the small bars and the clubs like this to the big festivals. There is one that stands out, just because of the number of people there. This past year, we played a thing in Detroit, and there were literally 300,000 people there. I grew up dreaming about that. The people there where like the people here in Charleston. They were there to hear country music, so they were really into it. And that's what I love about this place. Everyone is so interactive and they wait on every little word.
CP: After setting two substantial country music records, what milestone do you have in mind next?
LB: [chuckling] Oh, Lord ... well, the records are cool and all. But it's because "Love Like Crazy" set the record for number of weeks on the charts that so many people heard my music. And that's what we're doing, just trying to get people to hear our music. But one milestone I'd like to reach would be getting asked to be a member of the Grand Ol' Opry. I've played there six or seven times, and I'll keep on playing there and hoping one day they'll ask me.
Mike Thompson is a Charleston based country singer/songwriter. His latest album is titled Falling Out of Love.