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Lee Brice tips his hats to his fans’ support

Country music hitmaker Lee Brice has plenty celebrate these days including his upcoming wedding April. | GETTY IMAGES

Country music hitmaker Lee Brice has plenty to celebrate these days, including his upcoming wedding in April. | GETTY IMAGES

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♦ 8 p.m. March 30

♦ Blue Chip Casino, 777 Blue Chip Drive, Michigan City, Ind.

♦ Tickets, $25-$45

♦ (219) 879-7711;

Updated: May 1, 2013 1:58PM

You know you’re cool when the guys want to hang out with you, the girls want to go home with you and the traditional cowboy hats have never quite fit you.

“I was known in Nashville for a long time as the guy who always wore the ripped-upbaseball cap,” recalls country music singer/songwriter Lee Brice, who likes his hats worn backwards. “I still have a ton of caps in my closet and I try to donate some since I have so many. My favorite one, though, is this John Deere hat that my college friends and I used to wear. It was before they changed the logo, and I just wore that thing out. I’ve officially retired it, but I will never get rid of it.”

A self-proclaimed “rough-and-tough, red neckin’ party animal with a sensitive side,” Brice’s unrelenting commitment to the very core of that personality has served him well in recent years, as the South Carolina native has secured his spot on the country music scene with hits such as “Love Like Crazy” and “A Woman Like You.”

His latest and fastest-rising single of his career is “I Drive Your Truck,” a heart-wrenching ballad that has strummed on the heart strings of music fans with its relatable lyrics and dramatic melody.

“Everyone has their own take on that song,” Brice says. “When I heard the song for the first time, I thought about my granddaddy. But everyone is convinced that the song tells their own personal story. I remember hearing songs like that growing up. Those songs moved me and made me want to do this. I think it’s why I love music so much. The chance now that I can have a song like that on the radio that I am actually singing is really cool.”

Brice says the true emotion of “I Drive Your Truck” shines brightest when he is playing smaller venues, such as his upcoming date at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, Ind.

“It’s very clear when I see fans’ faces during that song,” says Brice, who will be back in town at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre on May 11 as part of Brad Paisley’s summer tour. “Some people don’t even sing. They just look up at me and there is an emotional connection. The song still hits me. Sure there are nights where we just roll thru it, but there are other days when it’s all I can do to get through it.”

Currently neck-deep into reviewing new material for the follow-up to his stunning sophomore album, “Hard 2 Love,” Brice says he is looking forward to pushing it as far as he can creatively. “We took some chances that paid off on the last record, so I’m definitely feeling ready to step out a little more,” says Brice, who is considering collaborations with some of his country buddies such as Jerrod Niemann, Randy Houser and Kellie Pickler.

And while professionally Brice is on a hot streak, on the personal life side of things, he’s set to marry his longtime girlfriend Sara Reeveley. Their son Takota will be the ring bearerfor the April nuptials. Brice says he is excited about the weeklong celebration and the much deserved honeymoon to follow. “I absolutely cannot wait,” he says with a hearty laugh.

Wait. You wrote a song for Sara, didn’t you?

“I do have a song that is probably going to end up as the title of the next album, which is one of my favorite songs I have ever written. But I’m going to keep it under wraps until the wedding,” he chuckles. “Heck, we may shoot the wedding and make it the music video. You just never know.”

Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.

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