On "Ready Set Roll," Chase Rice lays out all of the bro-country buzzwords -- Fireball shots, pickup-truck dates and of course, sexy country girls.
The song is No. 15 on Billboard's country airplay chart, and one lyric in particular has drawn the ire of some female fans: "Get your little fine ass on the step/Shimmy up inside."
New duo Maddie & Tae have checked "Ready Set Roll" in their new kiss-off to the bro-country trend called "Girl in a Country Song": "We used to get a little respect/Now we're lucky if we even get to climb up in your truck/keep my mouth shut and ride along/And be the girl in a country song."
According to Rice, who co-wrote "Ready Set Roll" as well as Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" (a primary source for bro-country research), Maddie & Tae's take is all good.
"I love it. I think it's fighting for what they deserve, and however they want to do that, they should. If that's coming after what we're singing about, do it. That's in no way going to hurt me," Rice says.
"My main thing is there's a lot of girls out there that are going to love ["Girl in a Country Song"], but there are also a lot of girls out there who do want to get in the truck and drive off. So that's why I think it's OK," he adds.
"I think the reason women are looked at in that way -- and it's not in a negative way at all -- I don't think it's degrading to tell a girl to get in my truck and let's drive around. I think that's just what we're doing. I've got an '85 Chevy Silverado, and I have a bench seat where the girl can sit right next to me. She can slide on over. That's literally why we're singing about it."
Rice's major-label debut album, Ignite the Night, will be released Tuesday (Aug. 19).
CMT: What can you tell me about the attitude behind "Ready Set Roll"?
Rice: "Ready Set Roll" was not supposed to be "Ready Set Roll." It was a song with "Night" in the title, and I can't remember at all what it was, but it was my first co-write with Rhett Akins and Chris DeStefano. At the top of the chorus I was like "Ready set let's roll. Ready set let's ride," and went on with that, but we were still trying to chase the "Night" title.
Finally I looked at Rhett and I was like, "Dude, why don't we just go back to that 'roll/ride' thing?" That's when Chris looks at me and he's like, "Roo-oo-oo-ll," like "That sounds cool, let's do that."
That was the first time I've ever written with either one of them, and that was the day I realized that Chris needs to produce me. That stuff wouldn't be on my album without Chris. He's such a big part of it. That was the day I realized that my sound was about to change big time -- and it's gotten way bigger. The choruses are bigger and the weirdness is up loud.
A lot of what got you to this point you did on your own -- without managers and record labels. What gave you the confidence to do that?
Touring, for me, was the most important part. I wanted to go out, and the confidence part came from the first time I played Myrtle Beach. Twenty to 40 people there, it was not a lot, and they were sitting back, but at the end of the night they were up front partying.
The next time I went, there were like 200 people there. I was like, "Oh, this could work." Next time I went, it was sold out. So it was like, "People are showing up. Yeah, eventually I do need a team around me, but until the team is ready, I'm not going to wait for them. I'm going to go get fans."
You got into music later in life than most artists. Does that affect how you make it?
Yeah, I got into music in college. I think the biggest effect it had on me was that I was ignorant to what should work. If I would have just tried to do what other people said would work, I would've failed, real easily. But in my mind I knew what a good song was because I was a fan, and when that came on the radio I liked it.
So that's what I went to with writing. At the end of the day, I knew what I liked and I knew what I didn't like. That was all I had. So I just put out all the best stuff that I liked -- and hopefully other people would too -- and so far I think it's worked.
That seems like common sense.
I think people get too complicated with their music and think about it too hard. Me, I still have my Knight's Templar. It's a couple friends from high school and a couple friends from college, and I send them songs. 'Cause they don't have music in their ear at all. So I trust that almost more than I trust the ears here in Nashville.
Your songs use a different language than what is mostly heard in country music. It's younger, fresher, and you use a lot of slang. Why is that?
I think sometimes it just kind of comes out that way. I wanted to have lines in my songs that are almost like, "What the hell did he just say? What does that mean?" That, to me, is pushing it. "I made a deal with the man on the moon/He's gonna put in some overtime" -- what the hell makes that come out? Actually that was a Rhett Akins line. That wasn't even my line in that song. But being around writers like that, I want lines like that all over my music. If you can do that, you win.
One thing that brought that question up for me is "Let's get weird." I keep seeing that in your stuff.
That's one of my favorite lines in the whole album. It's saying the same thing but saying it in a different way.
So many songs are about going out, and everybody uses the same words, but not in that case.
Exactly. "We got the weird up loud." What does that really mean? It really doesn't mean anything, but it sounds cool, and you get what I'm saying.