Lee Brice Talks Working with Warren Haynes

Grammy-Winning Grateful Dead Guitarist Appears on Brice’s Self-Titled Album

Lee Brice had several questions he wanted to ask Warren Haynes when the legendary rock guitarist walked into the recording studio to lay down guitar work on Brice’s “Story to Tell.”

He wanted to know all about Haynes’ work with the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and Gov’t Mule. Fortunately for Brice, he didn’t have to ask.

“All the things he’s seen and been around all these years, he just told stories that kind of blow your mind,” Brice said during our CMT.com interview. “Sitting in a room with Warren playing guitar all day and watching him, you want to let him do whatever he wants to do when he comes in. And he does.”

Brice credits one of his musical heroes, Edwin McCain, for facilitating Haynes’ appearance on “Story to Tell,” which was co-written with McCain and hit-maker Rob Hatch for Brice’s new self-titled album (out Nov. 3). While Haynes was in the studio, he also performed on the groovy “I Don’t Smoke.”

“I want groove on this record,” Brice said of his new album. “’I Don’t Smoke’ is so cool. It’s just one of those songs you play because it’s just fun, and it feels good. You can kind of listen to it groovin’ all day.”

Brice’s goal going into making his self-titled album, his fourth full-length release to date, was to create music that is as real as his heartbeat. And he fulfilled that mission.

The album is free of artificiality, and it was recorded using a live band without synthetic sounds replicated by a computer. The most interesting sound effect on the collection is Brice’s use of the theremin, which he learned how to play.

“I wanted it to be real and raw,” he said. “I have to make a record I’m proud of. I wanted it to be groovy, but with no tricks or a bunch of extra music wall thrown at your face that you can’t decipher.”

The album offers a mix of soul-baring songs, including the lead single “Boy,” “What Keeps Me Up At Night” and “Songs in the Kitchen.” “The Locals” is inspired by those who have pride in where they were born and raised. “Have a Good Day” serves as a reminder that happiness is always a choice for those facing adversity. He touches on themes of romance and love in “Eyes Closed” and the sultry “Rumor.”

When the conversation turned to whether this album sets up Brice’s sound of tomorrow, he admitted he didn’t know.

“I’m definitely one for depending on what I want and where I’m at,” he said. “I might do something completely different on the next record. I might go one way with just me and a guitar, or I might go into full production mode and make something that blows your mind musically.

“But I always have the goal of being true to me, what I want to and not be influenced by necessarily what’s out there already or what somebody wants me to do.

“But for this record, this is what I wanted. I think there’s always going to be a throwback factor to real guitars, real bass and real drums. That’s always going to be part of what I’m doing.”

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.