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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Sorry Momma’ but I went to a Chase Rice concert on a school night

Chase Rice performed at Ryman Auditorium in front of a full crowd, playing songs that displayed his love for music.
Chase+Rice+performs+at+Ryman+Auditorium%2C+as+photographed+on+April+11%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FSara+West%29
Sara West
Chase Rice performs at Ryman Auditorium, as photographed on April 11, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

Editor’s note: This piece contains mention of suicide.

Performing everything from slow ballads to country rock, Chase Rice and his band dazzled at the Ryman on April 11. The ensemble was collectively amazing, with numerous guitar riffs and a bass that rumbled in your chest. The night was full of fun moments but also heavier topics like depression and suicide. 

Opener Avery Anna, a TikTok musician who posts acoustic covers in her bathroom, was an amazing start with her soft vocal runs and simple country vibe. Originally from Arizona, she later signed a record deal with Warner Music Nashville after receiving millions of views. Her set consisted of her own songs like “Narcissist” and her newer single “Self Love” and a cover of A Great Big World’s hit “Say Something.” Even though she was nervous because this was her first performance at the Ryman, Anna was a fantastic opener who could have played for a two-hour show herself. 

Avery Anna opens the night, as photographed on April 11, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)
Avery Anna opens the night, as photographed on April 11, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West) (Sara West)

After a brief intermission, Chase Rice rushed to the stage with his acoustic guitar, baseball cap and cowboy boots. After starting the night off strong with “Walk That Easy” and “If I Were Rock and Roll,” he talked about how the concert would feature every song on his new album “I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go to Hell.” The album was released in February and consists of 13 songs. Rice explained that “this record is my heart and everything I wanted to do in music.” Rice was honest about his journey writing the album, saying he had “no idea what [he] was doing,” but he is exceptionally proud of the end result.  

Rice also played covers like “Springsteen” by Eric Church — who Rice said is one of his mentors — and Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” which was co-written by Rice and his friends and has now reached diamond-certified status. Beyond covers, Rice introduced a song he hasn’t released yet, “When She Took Me to Church,” and hinted about releasing it on a deluxe album of “I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go to Hell.” The song was Rice’s retelling of a night in 2008 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He had just lost his dad and learned he could no longer play football. 

Chase Rice plays the guitar, as photographed on April 11, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)
Chase Rice plays the guitar, as photographed on April 11, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West) (Sara West)

Rice then explained the moment that changed his life. 

“This girl, Katie, asked if I wanted to go to a concert,” Rice said. 

 They went to Lincoln Theatre, and Rice was not very familiar with the artist. But after hearing the artist’s story, he attended five more of that artist’s concerts and became a forever fan of the artist, who was later revealed to be Eric Church. Rice was inspired that night to write his own music and pursue his new dream. The title of the song gives a nod to Church. 

Rice performed his song “Oklahoma,” which features astounding guitar solos that blew the speakers out, and he was joined by special guest Reed Southill, an Oklahoma native. The two harmonized on the song, with Rice’s and Southill’s voices blending seamlessly. At the beginning of the show, Rice performed his first single “Ready Set Roll” from his first EP album of the same name. A few years after that first EP, Rice released his biggest single, which hit number one in late 2018, “Eyes On You.” Rice played the song towards the end of the night, and the crowd belted along with him and continued with that energy when he transitioned to “Bad Day to be a Cold Beer.” Many crowd members stood to raise their glasses and sing along. Rice himself had a beer in hand and chugged the contents mid-song. 

Chase Rice looks over his shoulder, as photographed on April 11, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)
Chase Rice looks over his shoulder, as photographed on April 11, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West) (Sara West)

After the last two songs, Rice briefly left the stage before returning to sing “Bench Seat.” Rice introduced the song by telling the story behind it. He was in Nashville in 2019, and his college roommate was staying with him for a few days. When his friend finally opened up, he broke down in tears detailing that he had almost ended his life the previous night, saying that his dog laying its head in his lap stopped him from doing so. 

Rice explained how his friend’s story inspired him to better his view on life and to also get a dog. While performing “Bench Seat,” Rice’s dog Jack joined him on stage and laid at his feet while he sang. While Rice was singing the last song of the night, Jack was running all over the stage. Jack would greet crowd members, receiving affection from the front row. Occasionally, someone would throw the stuffed monkey Jack was playing with, and he would rush after the monkey and beg another audience member to throw the toy. The black lab was adorable while he followed Rice as he walked along the stage and tried his best to obey Rice’s orders to sit down. 

Chase Rice was not afraid to be vulnerable with the audience and delivered a solid performance that was the perfect blend of soft country and a hint of country rock. Rice showcased his personality and talent while giving the crowd a cuteness overload with his dog Jack. Overall, it was a music-filled Tuesday night, which was just the study break I needed before finals.

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About the Contributors
Chloe Pryor
Chloe Pryor, Staff Writer and Photographer
Chloe Pryor (‘26) is from Fort Smith, Ark., and is double majoring in psychology and communications studies. When not writing for The Hustler, you can fund her reading, drawing or running late for class. You can reach her at [email protected].
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
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