20140723090155_lee-brice_webThe McCallum Theatre and KPLM “The Big 106” present country star Lee Brice on Monday, October 20, at 8:00pm.

Lee Brice’s writing has been lauded in industry circles for some time now. Early credits include Still”for Tim McGraw, Not Every Man Lives”for Jason Aldean and Crazy Days” and What it Takes” for Adam Gregory. Crazy Girl,” which Lee co-wrote with Liz Rose, and which was a #1 hit for the Eli Young Band, was nominated for an ACM award in the prestigious “Song of the Year” category.Crazy Girl” was Billboard’s number one country song for 2011.

Yet the amiable and (at six-foot-three) imposing artist had already made history twice. Garth Brooks’More Than A Memory,” which Lee co-wrote with Billy Montana and Kyle Jacobs, became the first song on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart to debut at #1. Then, the title track off of his own album, Love Like Crazy, was named Billboard’s most played country song of 2010. It still holds the record for the longest-charting song in the history of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

Writing since he was literally a child growing up in Sumter, South Carolina, Lee was fascinated by music. By age seven, he’d balance himself at his Aunt Henrietta’s upright piano to plunk out gospel tunes and make up his own melodies. Filled with the joy and power of music, he performed first for his family and then at church.

In high school, the sounds of such country artists as Garth Brooks, Hank Williams, Jr., Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys and Vince Gill vied with pop icons Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Pearl Jam and Tupac Shakur for his attention. Though Lee soaked up the varied styles, it was Garth Brooks’ story-driven songs that most moved him and influenced his own original music. His classmates took notice – for three years running, he captured the high school talent pageants, while also distinguishing himself as an All-Conference footballplayer.

Still, Lee might have gone on to become a civil engineer had a football injury not derailed him at Clemson University. Recuperating from surgery on his arm, he reevaluated his life goals and dreams; it was music, not engineering that drove him. Recalling a spring break in Nashville when producer Doug Johnson promised to help him should he move to town, Lee left school and packed his bags. Johnson made good on his offer, later arranging a writing deal for him with Curb Music Publishing.

The first year, Lee co-wrote some 150 songs. With his knack for inhabiting and not just delivering a song, the buzz around town was that Lee was a talent on the rise. His tours with Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson and Luke Bryan bore that out.

On Lee’s stunning sophomore album, Hard 2 Love, the four-time Academy of Country Music (ACM) nominee demonstrates a new maturity, both in his songwriting and vocals. As co-writer of eight of the thirteen tracks on Hard 2 Love, Lee has aimed for strong melodies and smart, emotional storytelling that go straight to the heart of the human condition.

Lee Brice is a man whose time has come. And yet it’s only now that it has all come together – big nominations, large tours and Hard 2 Love, the album on which Lee Brice finally gets to say, “Here’s who I am, in all sides of my personality. I hope you’ll like me.” Chances are, you already know the answer.

The McCallum Theatre and KPLM “The Big 106” present Lee Brice on Monday, October 20, at8:00pm. Tickets are priced at $85, $75, $45 and $35 and are available online at the McCallum Theatre website, or by calling the McCallum Theatre Box Office at(760) 340-2787. The McCallum Theatre, located at 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert CA 92260, accepts payment by cash, personal check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express