Back before the Meeting of the Minds / Parrot Head convention in 2015, I enjoyed several great songs on the Don Middlebrook Pandora station by someone I’d never heard of –Jesse Rice.
When I found out Jesse was performing in Key West during the 2015 convention week, I contacted him for an interview. We had a great chat after his performance at the popular Smokin’ Tuna bar and restaurant where I added a copy of his great 2-CD recording, “The Pirate Sessions 1 and 2” to my music collection. These CDs are filled with impressive Trop Rock-styled music with a country flavor plus masterful instrumentation and production.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago when Jesse and I spoke for an “update” interview exactly one week after the release of his newest CD, “The Pirate Sessions III.” What he told me during our update was beyond interesting – Jesse is taking a year away from Nashville to devote to Trop Rock music and performing for Trop Rock audiences. Fantastic news for us! Jesse explained that “Nashville is his day job, but the Trop Rock world fuels his passion.”
His initial “intrigue with the Parrot Heads and Trop Rock world” has evolved to this point where he is dedicating his time to Trop Rock music. He’s playing across the country along with an upcoming event in Mexico. Some shows are big, some not so big (such as the San Antonio Parrot Head Happy Hour in July), but he’s spreading his name and his style music among Trop Rock audiences.
Jesse hails from South Carolina and has been working as a songwriter in Nashville for over ten years. Winning several major Country awards for his songwriting, he co-wrote Florida-Georgia Line’s mega-hit, “Cruise” with his colleague and friend Chase Rice. Two years ago he wound up in Key West during the annual Parrot Head convention via the invitation of Thom Shepherd, the two originally met by writing songs together. For Jesse, writing the songs for his “Pirate Sessions” CDs has launched a new phase of his professional life.
“Trop Rock music is like what music used to be and should still be,” he told me. Jesse appreciates the great feedback from the Trop Rock world and he’s very happy his pet project, the “Pirate Sessions” CDs have been so well received.
His newewst CD, “Pirate Sessions III,” is nothing short of summer fun and the delight of recalling what Key West and beach experiences we might have enjoyed. I had to ask Jesse about one particular song “Too Drunk to Meet Jimmy Buffett.” True story?
Yes actually, but Jesse wasn’t the person unfortunate enough to imbibe too much. I’ve heard from other sources that there are plenty of libations back stage at a Buffett concert and one year a couple of Jesse’s friends had back stage passes (one was Django Walker, son of Jerry Jeff Walker who got to play a song with Jimmy onstage). Apparently, there was a great deal of drinking going on and one of his friends honestly blew his chance to meet Mr. Buffett.
Listening to “Pirate Sessions III”, one would think that Jesse has been a Trop Rock singer/ songwriter for decades. “Learning the craft of songwriting is hard,” Jesse told me, “but the hardest aspect is to make it commercial enough to reach everyone, but be subtly smart.” He also said he “learned all the rules, but has broken all the rules.”
Whatever the rules are, we think that Jesse is an exciting new voice in Trop Rock music. His songs are well-written, sing-able and will reach down into your Trop Rock soul, if you let them!
Check out Jesse Rice, his music and upcoming tour dates on his website: Jesse Rice