Chase Rice

Ready Set Roll

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Flush from his success as co-writer of Florida Georgia Line's smash "Cruise," Chase Rice -- a country singer turned Survivor finalist turned country singer -- goes all in on Ready Set Roll, a 2013 EP that follows his 2012 full-length Dirt Road Communion. If that 2012 LP played it a little down the middle, Ready Set Roll is unabashedly styled in the vein of Luke Bryan and FGL: it's big, polished country-pop that celebrates trucks and beer as it makes sly, slightly vulgar puns ("Girl, when are you gonna let me put some country in you") and is totally, completely comfortable with hip-hop and rock. Rice raps a bit on the opener "Ready Set Roll," vocals electronically hiccup elsewhere, and the entire thing is calculated to set up shop on mainstream country radio. It could, if it wasn't for Rice's slightly generic presence as a singer; he's such a bro next door that he doesn't cut an impression, not even with songs that purposefully hit all the marks. This anti-charisma might mean that Ready Set Roll won't make country radio (independent distribution might also hurt it) but it would function as a calling card to other singers, demonstrating how Rice can craft a commercial tune that they might bring to the top of the charts, just like Florida Georgia Line did.

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