Chase Rice Finds His True Voice On New Album ‘I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go To Hell’

Don’t let the tongue-in-cheek title fool you, his latest album shows a deeper, more reflective Chase Rice than we’ve seen in the past. I Hate Cowboy & All Dogs Go To Hell marks a full-circle, career defining journey for Rice, as both a singer and a songwriter, and he’s so proud of the work, he chose a picture of his late father for the front of it.

“That’s a picture of my dad in the 1980’s in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He was a cowboy his whole life and I always wanted to use that picture, but my music never represented what that photo represents.”

Since arriving in Nashville a little over a decade ago, Chase Rice has celebrated some major music milestones. He was a co-writer on the song “Cruise” which helped catapult Florida Georgia Line into country music superstardom. He embarked on his own solo career and watched three of his singles “Eyes on You,” “Lonely If You Are,” and “Drinkin’ Beer. Talking God. Amen,”(a song he recorded with FLG), all reach No. 1. But despite his success, he never felt he truly tapped into who he is as an artist – until now.

“All of that music was solid, but it hasn’t been anything groundbreaking and I don’t think it was really me that much,” Rice says. “I think it was me trying to chase a little bit of what’s popular with my own twist on it.”

I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go To Hell features 13 songs that share personal stories on love, regret, redemption, and his own life journey. Rice wrote or co-write all of the tracks, with three of him written at home, on his own, with just a guitar. It’s a different approach to songwriting than he’s taken in the past and is reflected in the quality of the songs.

“A decade after moving here, now I know my 10 years in this town were all about discovering my true self and getting to this point of releasing an album I can honestly say reflects the man I want to be from start to finish.

His decision to honor his late father, Daniel Rice, on the album’s cover is sort of a symbolic reflection of how far he’s come.

“That picture represents a grown ass man who knows who he is,” he says.

Despite the title of the album (which is also the title of one of the songs), Rice does “not” hate cowboys. He explained the meaning behind it during a recent appearance on Good Morning America.

“It ain’t about hating cowboys, obviously my dad was one. But, it’s more about a guy that’s being better at the game than you. He walks in the bar, steals your girl. If a guy walks into a bar with a cowboy hat and looks confident, you’d better hold your girl close.”

Rice says the songs on the album cover just a few themes.

“I think the theme is mostly cowboys, dogs, and love. I mean “Walk That Easy” brings that up. “All Dogs Go to Hell” is about love lost and trying to get it back. “Key West & Colorado” – love lost. “Bench Seat” is about love between a guy and his dog and how that dog really saves his life. “Life Part of Livin” is about love. Then you get to the back half and from Bad Days To Be A Cold Beer” and “Oklahoma” to “Walk Alone” is kind of a journey of my career.”

Rice’s journey, in both his life and his career, has taken him in some unique directions. And he’s embraced both the changes and the challenges every step of the way.

Before music, he played football at the University of North Carolina until an ankle injury derailed his dreams of making it to the NFL. He went from the sport of football to NASCAR racing and worked on the Hendricks Motorsports crew for a while before heading to Nashville to visit his old friend, Brian Kelley (before Kelley became half of Florida Georgia Line). There was an appearance on TV’s Surviver: Nicaragua before Rice finally, and fully, committed himself to music. Since then, he’s worked hard to find his way, but never waivered. It’s interesting to note, as he looks back on all that’s happened since, it was his dad who encouraged him to learn to play the guitar and get involved in music in the first place – when Rice was still in college.

As he celebrates I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go To Hell, it’s not only the quality of songs that has Rice excited, it’s the overall sound of the album, including his own vocals.

To make the record, Rice and producer Oscar Charles, turned Rice’s rural home into a studio. They brought in live band and with the acoustics in the house alone, created a more rustic sound than you’d get in a regular recording studio. For two weeks they dedicated themselves to crafting great songs, and fine-tuning the way Rice sounds when he sings them.

“Oscar was a huge help on that,” he explains. “Changing the way we play some chords, finding the right keys for my voice. I knew I had something in me I hadn’t touched as an artist and songwriter yet. And Oscar really brought it out of me. That’s when I was like ‘hell yeah,’ this is what I’ve been trying to do. I just couldn’t figure out how to do it.”

Rice has finally “found his own voice” on multiple levels, and feels this album is his best work yet. He says it will set the course for the future.

“It all starts with acoustic guitar, with songwriting first, and then into the studio with Oscar and I figuring out how to make those songs come to life. But raw and authentic is the start.”

He looks forward to playing the new songs, along with his hits from years past on upcoming “Way Down Yonder Tour.” Like the album, he hopes the tour will be his best yet.

“I’m looking forward to sharing the passion for this new music in my live shows. And I’m excited to see what happens next.”

Chase Rice has come a long way. His father would be proud.