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Jesse Rice: Surprising New Face at MOTM / Trop Rock Music Week


Thanks to Don Middlebroook’s Pandora station, I started hearing this great song about Key West a few months ago. When I checked out the lineup of the many musicians set to play Meeting of the Minds, I recognized a name: Jesse Rice. Little did I know what this singer/songwriter’s background was, nor how he would potentially react to the Parrot Heads who heard him while attending Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) / Trop Rock Music Week in Key West.

Jesse Rice is an award-winning songwriter from Nashville… and I mean award-winning! He has been writing (along with Chase Rice – no relation to Jesse!) for the hit country duo, Florida-Georgia Line for several years. One of their best known songs, “Cruise,” was #1 for three weeks and Jesse attended four Country Award shows right before arriving in Key West at the annual Parrot Head gathering.

So how did Jesse get to Key West to play for the MOTM crowd? His buddy (and ours!) Thom Shepherd talked him into coming down for a few days and set up some opportunities for Jesse to play.


Photo courtesy Christine Whartenby
Jesse Rice (middle) shares the stage with good friends Coley McCabe and Thom Shepherd.

Jesse wrote, recorded and produced an album a few short years ago called “The Pirate Sessions,” and he told me he did it mostly for himself. A fascinating fact about the songs? Each song’s title is mentioned in the song before it on the recording – what a unique idea! He and Brian Kelly, part of the Florida-Georgia Line duo, decided to “pirate” lines from the songs to make the new songs. And the result is a fantastic collection of songs about Key West, tropical settings and pirates, of course.

When we sat down to talk, Jesse had just received a standing ovation after a short set at The Smokin’ Tuna. He said the same thing had happened the night before and he was truly in awe of the MOTM / Trop Rock Music fans. He said he was “very intrigued with Parrot Heads and the Trop Rock world. Everyone has been very receptive and I’d like to make it an annual thing.” Well, we think Jesse Rice is terrific and hope that he will tap into the Trop Rock world as a permanent fixture!

Listen and Download The Pirate Sessions here:
Amazon: The Pirate Sessions

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