Just weeks before the release of his new album, I Don’t Dance, singer-songwriter and South Carolina native Lee Brice sat down with T+L to talk Charleston, Music City, and life on the road.
Credit: C Flanigan

Q: What can fans expect from I Don’t Dance?

A: The new album is very dynamic. It’s diverse in that it mixes all the different types of music that I grew up listening to. I’m such a country guy at heart, and I can’t not be a country man singing country music, but there are little dazzles of the things that I love in R&B and the things that I love in rock, and blues, and gospel music. Some of that stuff comes through on the record. And then just be ready for a very personal record. I try to tell the truth on it.

Q: What are a few of your favorite places in South Carolina?

A: I love my hometown of Sumpter, but Charleston, South Carolina is really the jewel of the state. It’s such an eclectic place to go. Man, there’s so much to do. There’s the beach and so much history; that’s really what I love. And then there’s Georgetown, South Carolina—it’s a small town, but very historic. I also grew up going to Myrtle Beach my whole life. A lot of people vacation there, but I grew up visiting the river and the waterways all back there. It’s the beach, but it’s not the beach. It’s more of a swamp, and that’s where I grew up.

Q: Any South Carolina dishes that you miss?

A: Oh yeah. I miss shrimp and grits. That’s the deal in South Carolina. It really originated there. And boiled peanuts—you can’t get ‘em up north. Some people don’t even know what they are! And catfish stew—that’s the stuff you can’t get unless you’re home.

Q: Describe your perfect day in Nashville:

A: Lately, the truth is, I spend so much time on the road, so the perfect day to me is being home, and being with my family. That’s it. It doesn’t really matter what we do.

Q: Any favorite restaurants in town?

A: I used to live downtown, and it’s funny because downtown—Broadway, Tootsies, and all—seems like it’s the tourist thing to do, but that’s not true. The locals, we still love to go to Tootsies, and we still love to go to Legends, and do the crawl through there. And when this place called Tin Roof started—that’s where I spent most of my days—at the Tin Roof on Demonbreun Street, and I’ve got a lot of friends there. Heck, I’ve even got a table there with a gold plate. If you’re ever sitting in my chair when I get there, you have to move [laughs].

Q: How has the way that you tour changed since you became a father?

A: Well, it’s exactly opposite. Everything is opposite. Before I got married and had kids, I could have cared less whether I ever came home. But when I did come home was when I got my rest because I was just worn out from being on the road. Now, I can’t get home fast enough. So that has changed; I want to be home. And then also, I think I get more rest on the road because at home, it’s daddy duty. So everything is swapped. My whole life, all my priorities, everything swapped.

Q: What’s next?

A: Post-album launch, I’ll be finishing up this tour with Luke Bryan. We’ve been out with him all year, and it’s been awesome. I’m also in the studio a lot, producing folks. I’m making a record with my brother, Lewis Brice. It’s going to be amazing. He’s done it all own his own, so now it’s time for him. And other people, too—like American Young is an act on Curb Records. So I’m doing a lot of producing, and then I’ll start writing. This fall, I’ll be in the studio starting my next record. I need the time. I have a vision for it already, and it’s going to take me a while to get it done right.

Caroline Hallemann is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @challemann.