With "I Don't Dance" inching toward the top of Billboard's country airplay chart, Lee Brice's musical instincts appear to be sharper than ever.
Earlier this summer, Brice announced plans to release I Don't Dance, the follow-up album to his hugely successful 2012 release Hard 2 Love.
With three No. 1 songs on Hard 2 Love, including "I Drive Your Truck," it would seem as though the pressure was on for Brice to put together another album of chart-topping singles. His approach to I Don't Dance was decidedly more album-driven than it was single-driven, though.
He spent months choosing songs for the record, taking great pains to make sure each one fit the album like pieces in a puzzle.
"It was like this key code that I finally figured out and it finally unlocked," Brice says of I Don't Dance. "I think (the album) takes you on a little bit of a ride, you know."
That ride takes listeners on a tour of Brice's diverse musical influences from hip-hop artists like Eminem all the way to rock icons the Rolling Stones. It's that country foundation, though, that keeps the album cohesive and guided him as he wrote and selected songs for the project.
"You're very fortunate to find a song that you can totally connect with," Brice explains of the outside songs he chose for I Don't Dance, which include the good times ode "Drinking Class."
Once the songs were compiled, Brice faced his most difficult task -- sequencing the album.
"Every night for two years and a lot of mornings when I woke up, I spent looking at sequencing," Brice says. "If you're talking about 16 songs -- and it started out with 30 -- there are a lot of combinations. I toiled over it until literally 10:30 in the morning on the day of mastering until I said, 'OK, this is the sequence.' I had a couple of tweaks left, and I figured it out."
Brice wrote the title song with Rob Hatch and Dallas Davidson. It's currently at No. 2 on the country airplay chart.