Country hit maker Chase Rice takes a step back to ask some deep questions with the new track, “If I Were Rock & Roll.” Questions like, what makes us who we are? And what do we really want from life?
Out today (October 8) as an easy-going roots rock anthem with a deep-thinking theme, it features an open-spaces sound and a story full of front porch wisdom, as Rice finds himself in a decidedly thoughtful mood. Exploring many of the touchstones of Southern culture he loves so much, the “Eyes On You” singer ultimately considers what drives him to be the person he is — and it’s not coming out of nowhere. Rice says he wrote the track alone, with just an acoustic guitar.
“The night I wrote this song, I decided to take a break from social media, so instead of aimlessly scrolling like most nights, I put Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You documentary on my living room TV. His song ‘If I Was the Priest’ stood out to me and got me thinking about my own relationship with Jesus and all of the things I love in life; Country music, NASCAR, my friends and family,” he explains. “I picked up a guitar and wrote ‘If I Were Rock & Roll’ alone in that moment. No track and no cowriters meant I had no choice to focus on the lyrics and lean into what is real to me. … From Earnhardt to my military buddies, to Johnny Cash, to my grandpa… these are all people and memories who have shaped the man I am. It’s a very personal, real song to me and yet how the song ends, with the one that got away, makes it one that I think a lot of people will relate to.”
The track and its sound are certainly a shift from Rice’s earlier catalog — including the game changing country hit, “Cruise,” and this summer’s bright and buzzy Number One, “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen (feat. Florida Georgia Line).” Aiming for more vulnerability, “If I Were Rock & Roll” marks first taste of a new chapter with studio maverick Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Brothers Osborne, Little Big Town), and Chase Rice says it came directly from how his life changed during COVID-19.
“Stepping back from live music was a hard reset for a lot of folks and it hit me especially hard since I don’t have a wife or a family yet, so I was forced to really look at who I am as a person and the music I’ve been writing and singing every night on stage,” he says. “I’m really proud of the journey and yet until the last year, I admittedly hadn’t taken the time to process all the life I have been able to live on the road. The time we had off the road really inspired a shift in how I write and has pushed me to be so much more intentional.
“When it’s working, it’s easy to say ‘let’s keep doing this,’ so it definitely feels like somewhat of a risk to put this new music out, yet it’s also the most excited I’ve been in a really long time,” Rice adds.
He’ll get to see if the new approach pays off when his new track arrives at country radio on October 18, with more new music expected in the future. Meanwhile, Chase Rice has also partnered with a trio of people who “personify the values embodied by the song’s lyrics,” for an inspiration video series featuring The Fighter: Robby Malof, The Rider: Alyssa Curry and The Builder: Brandon Cornell.