Chase Rice's reaction the first time he heard his new single "Everybody We Know Does" wasn't what you’d expect.

“I got this song and it sounded horrible," Rice admits with typical candor. "Horrible! My first thought was, ‘Why in the hell would he send me this?’”

A publisher passed an unmixed version of the song to Rice, who was able to look past the rough edges to see enormous potential. A few close friends agreed, so he began cutting it with Chris Stefano, co-producer of his new album. The finished version came while he was playing a corporate date in Arizona, and it’s this version that has him amped up for the next round of his career. They nailed it. "Everybody We Know Does" is a country-rock anthem that grabs you with guitars and keeps you with a unifying message.

Lyrically, Rice connected to the blue-collar anthem immediately, but he gave it an important test. The "Whisper" singer took it to his 70-acre farm in rural Tennessee, an uninhabited swath of land that still needs weeks and weeks of cultivating before he can make it his home.

“I drove out to my farm, put it on my ’85 Silverado speakers that don’t sound great and listened to it. I just felt alive,” he tells Taste of Country. “It felt like listening to an old Garth song or an old George Strait song on my farm in Florida. I remember my brothers playing that stuff in a Jeep my dad used to drive us around in and it felt like that."

His farm is where he goes to get away from music, but in some ways it shaped this album. When he's not touring, Rice is often on his own — by choice. The weekend after his conversation with ToC he was planning a solo camping trip in New York. The recharge is essential.

Fans will find Rice returning to his roots on this second studio album, the follow-up to Ignite the Night. But it’s still going to be a very diverse project, sonically and thematically. He’s keeping the sexy, but adding a little more everyman lifestyle. An artist that once took pride in leaning into the genre's edges to write and record polarizing country mixes is now galvanizing with a big rock anthem.

“It was literally just where I am right now," the 29-year-old adds of the song. "It wasn’t trying to be mainstream, it wasn’t trying to please any sort of fans."

“I don’t know where country is going, I don’t honestly really care. I just know where my music is going."

Jeremy Bussey and Travis Denning wrote “Everybody We Know Does,” the first official single from the album, as “Whisper” will not make the project. While not a songwriter on this song, Rice admits he did some tinkering. During a trip to play for American troops in Japan he was invited to the Feather-Prop Bar and Grill on an Air Force base. It’s not really a bar, but someone’s house people gather nightly to party. The night transported him back home.

“For two hours I was back in Tennessee,” he recalls, “And that’s what gave me the idea for ‘Friends in Low.’” That’s a signature lyric on his fourth single, a standout abbreviation that sounds right.

“I got that from that moment that we were all drunk singing ‘Friends in Low Places’ with my new Air Forces buddies in Japan.”

There’s no release date for Rice’s second studio album, and the singer didn’t share too many more details, other than there is a football-themed song called “Lions” that is not about the Detroit Lions. It’s a natural progression for the “Ready Set Roll” artist.

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