"I feel like 3 is my strongest record to date," Bo Bice said recently. "Its a plethora of sounds that show who I really am. There's something for everyone; country, soul, rockn roll...it's like your favorite pair of jeans, it just feels right."
But 3 is more than just an album title for Bo. He and his wife Caroline welcomed their third child, Ean Jacob, this past January. After a few health scares, Bos had a clean bill of health for three years. And, of course, 3 is his third album, a record filled with soulful, gospel-tinged country rock that represents the maturation of a songwriter and performer.
(Did we say maturation? "Dont forget, its also Dale Earnhardts number," says Bo, laughing. "Thats another good reason to call it 3. Besides, you cant name your fifth album 3 people will wonder if you can count.")
For the amount of time hes been in the public eye (records, TV, movies, a chart-topping single), 3 finally showcases "who the real Bo Bice is." The album, recorded in his adopted hometown of Nashville, features an array of influences, from Jim Croce, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Gram Parsons to the Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz (most notably on "Get on and Ride," the records most rockin track). And those sounds arent on accident performers on the album include Crowes drummer Steve Gorman and keyboardist A.J. Croce, the son of Jim Croce. The album was entirely written or co-written by Bo, with additional production by D. Scott Miller (whos worked on hits by Trace Adkins, Patty Loveless and Asleep at the Wheel, among others).
"Its a real diverse record," says Bo. "In songs like Get On and Ride and Coming Back Home, youll hear a sound that I think a lot of people associate with me. But then theres something like [the acoustic and fiddle] Wild Roses, which isnt a song I ever thought I could do."
3 is a joint release between Sugar Money, Bos own label, and Saguaro Road, the home to Edwin McCain, Joan Osborne, Patty Loveless and a number of other popular rock, country and Americana artists. "That was more in my best interest to team up with them," he says. "As an artist, we dont get into this business to run a record label. I want to write songs, play my guitar parts and go on the road!"
You can get a lot of insight to Bos past on 3, with its constant references to "the road," family, leaving home and lifes spiritual and emotional journeys. Born Harold Elwin Bice, Jr., in Huntsville, Alabama, and raised by his mother, a gospel singer, Bice spent most of his youth moving around the South, until his mother remarried and the family relocated to England where his passion for music blossomed.