Yes, Lewis Brice is Lee Brice's brother (or vice versa). No, that's not how he got his record deal.

That ought to be obvious, but we wanted to bring it up tactfully when ToC spoke to the younger Brice recently in Nashville as he was making the rounds to support Lewis Brice, his debut EP.  Brice smiled at the often-asked question before sharing a story about his first day in Nashville, when he drove up his older brother's driveway with all of his gear in a trailer he was pulling.

"I was about to get out of my truck when Lee came walking outside and closed the door back on me and said, 'Hold on. I'm glad you're here. I'm not gonna do anything for you. I'll help you out any way I can, but if you're doing something in this town, you're going to have to do it on your own legs. You're gonna have to make your own name.' And I looked at him and I said, 'Thank you,'" he recalls.

"We've really made it a point. We're brothers, and he's one of my best friends. But we've done a really good job with him doing what he does and me doing what I do. He's a big fan of mine, I'm a big fan of his. But we do a good job of keeping it separate. People do look at me and say, 'Oh, that's Lee Brice's brother,' but they know I'm making my own path."

My goal is to set a path where you don't have to have a genre. If it's good music, it's good music.

Lewis Brice is the culmination of years of hard work he's put in, honing his craft in and out of the studio. That includes a stint on Can You Duet, as well as building a fan base the old-fashioned way through hard touring. All the while he's been building the right professional team to bring his music to the fans who've been waiting.

"I've been playing these songs a long time," Brice tells us. "I'm very fortunate to have the people I've played for over the years still keep listening without anything tangible in their hand. I owe it to them to give them something to put in their hands."

Brice includes Dierks Bentley, Jimi Hendrix, Southern rock and Travis Tritt among his influences, but also listens to some hip-hop and pop. He participated in writing all of the songs on Lewis Brice, and many of them draw from his own personal experiences. including the lead single, "Best Ex Ever," which he laughingly calls "the radio-friendly version of an R-rated story."

"Messin' With My Mind" is "one I really dig down deep for," Brice says. It was written after he finally came to the decision that he was ready to settle down with a girl he'd been seeing, who then told him she wasn't ready herself.

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"Two days later I get a phone call from one of my buddies and he's like, 'Hey man, what did you do to this girl?'" Brice relates. "I was like, 'What do you mean?' and he said, 'You didn't see? She's engaged.' She was engaged two days later after she said she didn't want to be in a relationship. So I went straight from there to that song," he adds with a laugh. "That song came out rather quickly."

Brice brings all of his influences to bear on the EP, mixing contemporary country with heavy rock chords, banjos and acoustic guitars for a country-rock hybrid that doesn't sound quite like anyone else currently in the market. "Still With You" mixes a little bit of techno-pop into the proceedings, while "Alabama" -- which he co-wrote with his brother, who also consulted as executive producer on Lewis Brice -- draws on some gospel-style blues influences.

Brice says he's "testing the line" in country music with the project. "It's right on the edge of what could go and what couldn't go," he says. "My goal is to set a path where you don't have to have a genre. If it's good music, it's good music."

He's not worried that will make things harder for him.

"I never think about how hard things can be. I just do it. If things are gonna be hard, you've just got to work harder. I do like having a challenge. Let's just get it done."

Lewis Brice is now available via Apple Music, Google PlayAmazon and more. For more information on Brice, visit his official website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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