Lee Brice is looking forward to Christmas, and though he loves food, family and celebrating his faith during the holiday season, there’s another tradition he’s especially excited about.
“Our plan, as of now, is to go down and see mom and daddy in South Carolina and see some old friends,” Brice tells Sounds Like Nashville, “and do some old school hunting and hanging out. I’m going to get back to my old 20-year tradition of camping again. We’re going to take both boys [sons Takoda and Ryker] camping this year down in South Carolina, around north Myrtle Beach and the Waccamaw River. We’ll just live in the swamp for about four nights. We’ll build campfires and go duck hunting and catfishing. I’m really looking forward to that time with them.”
The annual camping trip began when Brice was in college. “It was 20 years straight and then I haven’t done it in the last two years,” he says. “So this will be our first year back after two years. It’s with a couple of my buddies from Sumpter [SC] that I grew up with, but now we bring a couple of our kids with us. They are camping and chopping wood. We’ll get in the 26th and get all setup. We’ll stay and we’ll come out on the 30th, get back home and be home for New Year’s Eve. But it’s five full days out there on that river, deep in the swamp, just living off of catfish and ducks.”
Brice loves making memories with his boys. “It’s something that has been really special,” he says. “It’s not just a camping trip. I think it’s something they’ll hold onto for a long time.”
Before they head off to the woods for their camping adventure, Brice says they’ll spend time at his parents. “The biggest thing is mama just loves to be there when the kids wake up and Santa Claus has come and there are presents,” he says. “Mama just eats it up and soaks it in and so do we watching those kids open presents. And of course I’m like, ‘Alright, pick all the trash up, bag it up.’ It’s really a time though for me. Usually I’m gone so much during the year that the biggest thing for me is the fact that I’m home. I get to see my family. I get to go see my friends in Sumpter, so that’s kind of the biggest thing for us.”
Of course, good southern cooking plays an important part in the revelry. “Daddy is always doing a ham and mama always is trying still to recreate grandmama’s macaroni and cheese. She knows that it has to happen, and some rice and gravy, but that macaroni and cheese is something else! I brought Travis, my guitar player, to my house one time for Christmas and mama made grandmama’s macaroni and cheese and he was like, ‘Okay Lee, you weren’t lying. It’s the best in the world.’ It’s like white and creamy and garlicy and almost soupy. It’s just different. Don’t let none get on top of your head because your tongue will lick your brains out trying to get to it!”
As he looks toward 2021, Brice is hoping to get back out on the road performing. In the meantime, he’s soaking up the extra time with his wife Sara and their three children, but says even when he’s touring regularly again, he’ll be more mindful of work/life balance. “I’ve learned how blessed we’ve been this year to be home with the family,” she shares. “I’m going to really try to balance as much as I can—no matter what kind of comes back as far as shows and getting on the road—being able to balance my time and spending that time with the kids at their ages right now. It’s an important time right now for daddy to be home as much as I can, so that’s what I’m going to focus on. Takota is 12, Ryker is six and Trulee is three, so different ages, different times, different things that they are soaking in. Sara can’t do it by herself. I mean she does a good job and she gets it done, but they need daddy there too. I know that and I’ve really realized a lot of that over the last few months.”