CB Meg McRee Supporting Marcus King @zachbairphotography

  Chris Brice will concede, albeit reluctantly, that he has been ushered to the front of the line. He stands out as a Brit in the Nashville music scene but it’s his skill and artistry which has made him the chosen drummer of so many in Music City’s exponentially expanding industry. Brice has been making a splash as the dynamic grooving drummer behind Meg McRee performing at legendary country music venues such as The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville as well as others like historic Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth Texas. It’s easy to see the energy and musicality Chris brings to the music and the other musicians who share the stage with him. He’s as entertaining to watch as he is to listen to. The great Levon Helm once said, “When a drummer is on, he makes everyone else in the band play at a higher level”; this type of elevation is something that Brice ignites with every band and on every stage and recording session he’s a part of. 

Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom @zachbairphotography

  The transition from London to Nashville seemed destined to happen for Chris. When Lainey Wilson (winner of five CMA awards in 2023, including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year), performed previously in the UK, it was Brice she chose to be seated behind her on the drums. Not long after, Lainey’s manager Mandelyn Monchick suggested he work with McRee who was also on her artist roster. Already having proved himself a major asset with Wilson, Chris exhibited the same sensitivity and energetic buoyancy as the drummer on Meg’s live performances with hit tunes like “Mary Jane & Chardonnay” and others. The mutual respect and admiration among the band is palpable onstage. Brice declares, “An artists’ voice and stage presence is always a huge reason why I choose a gig. Meg’s voice is absolutely incredible. She has a very unique timbre to it and every time she sings it consistently sounds amazing. Seeing people’s reactions to hearing her sing is such a lovely part of being in a band with her. Meg is one of the best in town. The chord sequences and melodies she chooses are so interesting – I love that about her music. She is one of the most inspiring writers in Nashville and I could tell that from the jump so it’s such an awesome feeling to know that you are playing for an artist that every new song they will bring is going to be so cool and so fun to play.”

Ryman Band Shot Meg McRee @_aubreywise_

  There’s far more to the sound of Meg McRee’s band than meets the eye. However, in contrast to the overwhelming majority of bands across all genres, this group is committed to keeping the organic/human vibe of their live show. Chris employs triggers one-shots and loops with an SPD module while also holding down all of the drum grooves. Rebuking tracks for this approach might weigh more heavily on him but it has the benevolent effect of allowing for freedom in last minute arrangement changes, essentially in allowing each night to be its own unique experience for the band and audience to share. Brice notes that the improvisational component of this gig keeps him engaged. He remarks, “Meg’s music is very drum centric and the set has a giant variety of feels and sounds that is an absolute blast to play. I’ve never felt more like my drumming style fit’s an artist’s music as well as Meg’s. I started out with three snares that I’d swap in and out because there is so much variety and nuance to the snare sounds on the songs but I’ve adopted to tuning one snare in between every song because I know my Steve Ferrone Signature Pearl snare drum so well at this point. I’m still in the process of prototyping a shaker/tambourine stick that I can switch out through songs to be able to catch percussion parts and still be able to play the drum parts. I’ll break that day’s prototype almost every show so I’m not quite there yet but I love being inspired by the new songs that Meg brings to push not only my playing but my innovation behind the kit.” 

Drum Shot Key West @shotbyleddo

  Within a year of moving to Nashville, Brice found himself performing with Meg McRee and his fellow band members at the “Mother Church of Country Music”, the Ryman Auditorium. opening for CMA Award–Winning New Female Artist of the Year Morgan Wade. With his family in attendance from the UK, Chris and the band took a bow for the standing ovation they received that night. The drummer states, “The Ryman was at the top of my list of things to achieve in Nashville so it was extra special to be able to say that I did that within a year of moving to town. Looking out at those iconic stained glass windows with a full auditorium on their feet, that’s a sight I’ll never forget.” Chris will bring his two worlds together this year as Meg and the band are set to perform at Stagecoach festival in California and the UK’s Long Road festival.

Writer : Basil Thomson

By Punit