We are thrilled to announce that Bo Bice will be performing during our 4th Annual Waltrip Brothers’ Champions Dinner presented by HendrickCars.com on October 23rd at The Factory in Franklin. Bo, along with legendary performer Charlie Daniels are certain to make our 4th Annual event one for the books! In Addition to the Champions Dinner presented by HendrickCars.com, on Thursday October 24th Waltrip Brothers’ will hit the course with their 4th Annual Charity Championship presented by JaniKing.
“I feel like 3 is my strongest record to date,” Bo Bice said recently. “It’s a plethora of sounds that show who I really am. There’s something for everyone; country, soul, rock’n’ roll…it’s like your favorite pair of jeans, it just feels right.”
But 3 is more than just an album title for Bice. He and his wife Caroline welcomed their third child, Ean Jacob, this past January. After a few health scares, Bo’s had a clean bill of health for three years. And, of course, 3 is his third album, a record filled with soulful, gospeltinged country rock that represents the maturation of a songwriter and performer.
(Did we say maturation? “Don’t forget, it’s also Dale Earnhardt’s number,” says Bice, laughing. “That’s another good reason to call it 3. Besides, you can’t name your fifth album 3 – people will wonder if you can count.”)
For the amount of time he’s been in the public eye (records, TV, movies, a chart-topping single), 3 finally showcases “who the real Bo Bice is.” The album, recorded in his adopted hometown of Nashville, features an array of influences, from Jim Croce, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Gram Parsons to the Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz (most notably on “Get on and Ride,” the record’s most rockin’ track). And those sounds aren’t on accident – performers on the album include Crowes drummer Steve Gorman and keyboardist A.J. Croce, the son of Jim Croce. The album was entirely written or co-written by Bice, with additional production by D. Scott Miller (who’s worked on hits by Trace Adkins, Patty Loveless and Asleep at the Wheel, among others).
“It’s a real diverse record,” says Bice. “In songs like ‘Get On and Ride’ and ‘Coming Back Home,’ you’ll hear a sound that I think a lot of people associate with me. But then there’s something like [the acoustic and fiddle] ‘Wild Roses,’ which isn’t a song I ever thought I could do.”
3 is a joint release between Sugar Money, Bo’s own label, and Saguaro Road, the home to Edwin McCain, Joan Osborne, Patty Loveless and a number of other popular rock, country and Americana artists. “That was more in my best interest to team up with them,” he says. “As an artist, we don’t get into this business to run a record label. I want to
write songs, play my guitar parts and go on the road!”
You can get a lot of insight to Bo’s past on 3, with its constant references to “the road,” family, leaving home and life’s spiritual and emotional journeys. Born Harold Elwin Bice, Jr., in Huntsville, Alabama, and raised by his mother, a gospel singer, Bice spent most of his youth moving around the South, until his mother remarried and the family relocated to England where his passion for music blossomed.
By 14, Bice was already in a rock band (“with some cat named Paul who wore skintight denim jeans tucked into his Chuck Taylors and a neon pink BC Rich”). Before school ended, he left the UK to return to Alabama, earn his GED and focus all of his efforts into music. The decision to leave his mother wasn’t easy, a moment reflected nicely in
3’s country-gospel closer “You Take Yourself with You.”
“D. Scott Miller and I wrote that song, just sitting and talking about the first time you leave home,” says Bice. “He’s older than me, but everyone has that same feeling when they take off.”
Bice worked the Southern club circuit for years in a number of bands, including Blue Suede Nickel, Purge and Sugar Money. Although the groups made some in-roads, Bice’s initial claim to fame came in 2005, when the unknown singer auditioned for American Idol, wowed the judges with his rendition of “Whipping Post” and reached the show’s final round.
“I still keep up with it,” he says. “I owe them a huge debt of gratitude. And they’ve given so many people a career! But I always say, just know that the day after the finale, when you wake up, that’s the day you start the hardest work of your life. You haven’t ‘made it.’ You’re just at the bottom of the next level, working your way up.”
Bice topped the charts with “Inside Your Heaven,” a single from his 2005 debut The Real Thing, and went on to tour and record with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson and Carlos Santana, as well as appear at Bonnaroo. But between his first and second record (2007’s See the Light, featuring the #1 video “Witness”), a number of health issues arose, forcing the singer to take time off.
“Time off – my wife would argue that,” says Bice, who was suffering from intestinal issues. Oddly, the downtime may have helped jumpstart 3. The first song he wrote for the record, the mid-tempo country crooner “Good Hearted Woman,” serves as a dedication to his mother, grandmother and wife, and came during one of his weakest moments. Says Bo: “I was coming out of the surgeries, I was a brand new dad, and I could barely pick up my guitar. But I went into my upstairs
office, and that’s the song that came out.”
In-between touring behind See the Light and preparing 3, Bice found time to perform overseas for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “You hear and see first-hand some of the devastating stories, but you witness the blessing that these men and women are fighting for us,” he says. “I just hope I’m lifting them up somehow.” (Bice suggests checking out bobice.com to see how you can contribute)
Bice plans to return to the road later this summer. “That’s what keeps me going, playing for the fans,” he says. “It’s funny, when I started out after my first record, there were a lot of women in the crowd, and a lot of guys with their arms crossed, kind of saying ‘Show me what you got.’. Then I do my show – which is sort of like Motley Crue, Vince Gill and Bob Seger-and by the end, the guys were the ones screaming and redneck whistling, even in New York. I always says, ‘she’ll bring you to the first Bo Bice show, and you’ll bring her to every one of them afterwards!”