Chase Rice Says “People Are Craving Life and Live Music”

Why He Is So Eager to Find Ways to Safely Play Shows

When Chase Rice tweeted recently that he was rehearsing, my heart started racing for the first time since March. Because if he was rehearsing for a show, that must be a sign that live country music is ready to roll again. And I am really, really ready for that.

“Ain’t felt this in a while. Rehearsing with the guys for the first time since June,” Rice wrote. “I miss live music, I miss y’all. It’s comin back, can’t wait to see y’all out there.”

June 27 was the date of the show Rice was referring to. That night, he played an outdoor show at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, a former maximum-security prison in Petros, Tennessee and some people questioned the judgement of putting on a show during a pandemic.

I had the chance to ask Rice about his return to the stage after a six-month break nobody even signed up for and the lessons he learned about how to make shows safe for everyone who wants to be there.

CMT.com: When you think back on all the pre-Covid shows you’ve played for massive crowds, do you wish you could go back and relive every single one?

Rice: I look back on all of those shows now — even ones when I remember being pissed at myself because I was just having a bad night — and I’m like, “My God. Give me nights like that any day of the week.”

Since you’ve been doing your live stream concert series from your farm every Sunday to benefit your band and crew, has that given you a taste of what it’s like to play live again?

That’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve been trying to do so many shows, just acoustic ones even with all the limitations. Because I promise you this: America is ready to hear live music. They are so ready. I see it every single weekend. People are craving life and live music.

I know. But I also know that when there is a big college football game or a political rally, it’s hard not to draw comparisons and wonder why those crowded events are okay but somehow concerts are not.

My biggest thing is, I don’t know why we are being treated like kids. We have the ability to leave our homes and do it safely, so what the hell are we doing? You can’t expect us to hear that we are free and have the liberty to make our own choices, but then suddenly tell us we have to stay home. And we’re supposed to be okay with that?

If it was up to you, how would you get real-life concerts up and running again?

There’s way to do things that allow us to live our lives and do it safely. At concerts, you can have a section for the people who want to crowd the stage and go nuts and pretend like nothing’s going wrong in the world. Then you can have another section where people want to be distanced and still enjoy the show. Let’s give them the options and get concerts going again. At the end of the day, it’s someone’s decision to leave their house to go to a concert. It’s not my damn job to tell them they can’t do that. It’s my job to provide them music so that we can live our lives the way we’re put on this earth to live. I think it is so important for people to have the choice to leave their homes. Let’s get back to not being sheep. Nobody’s forcing you to leave your house. But we shouldn’t be forced to stay inside either. Just give people the choice. I’m just here to tell you what I’m gonna do, and if you’re down with it, let’s go.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.
@alisonbonaguro