Music Review: Chase Rice has clever take on new country sound

MICHAEL McCALL Associated Press Published:

Chase Rice, "Ignite the Night" (Dack Janiels/Columbia)

On "Do It Like This," country singer Chase Rice suggests he and his friends prefer pulling out a fiddle at a back-country bonfire to dancing under a disco ball. But the track contradicts that sentiment by employing several pop and hip-hop influences more befitting an urban dance floor than a rural, electricity-free setting.

"Do It Like This" from his new album "Ignite the Night" opens with the sound of a scratching turntable, a vocoder-altered voice track, and an electronic drum pattern -- even the banjo sounds like a looped sample. Those conventions put Rice on the side of those country artists currently pushing a crossover style of country music that openly draws on pop and contemporary R&B.

That isn't a big surprise, considering Rice is the co-writer of the monster crossover hit "Cruise" -- and a former finalist on TV's "Survivor." Rice takes a wholly modern approach on his debut major-label album. Recent radio hit "Ready Set Roll," uses the mix of rap and singing heard on hits by Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.

Like those artists, Rice won't be heralded by tradition-loving country fans. But the huge crowds rallying behind the singer's contemporaries will find plenty to like about "Ignite The Night" and the clever ways he's found to enliven this new country trend.

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