Country star comes to Carbondale


By Thomas Donley, @TDonleyDE

The SIU Arena on Saturday night will be a place for students to get crazy and forget their responsibilities for a while.

Nashville recording artist Chase Rice will put on a show at 8 p.m. Saturday at SIU Arena as part of his Back to College Tour.

“It was just time [for the tour],” Rice said. “That was where my career started — college, college crowds, kids who are just ready to get rowdy and forget about life for a while. We’ve been playing to some bigger crowds … and I wanted, at least once a year, to get back to my roots and have a party.”


SIU will be the fifth stop on Rice’s seven-campus tour, which includes Florida Gulf Coast, Kent State and Rice’s alma mater, North Carolina.

“Anywhere in the Midwest is fun,” said the Asheville, N.C. native. “They do not care. They have as much fun as they can and get rowdy, so I’m definitely excited to get to Carbondale.”

Rice, who has previously played shows at the Copper Dragon, brings a modern style of country music to SIU Arena, one he said is patterned after Foo Fighters, Eminem and Garth Brooks.

“It’s kind of all over the map,” he said. “And you can kind of blame Steve Jobs for that, with iTunes. With all this access to different music, it’s cool to see how music is played.”

Rice has had two albums reach the Billboard U.S. Country charts. His most recent one, 2014’s “Ignite the Night,” reached No. 1. He has an untitled album scheduled for release this summer, but fans will not hear much of it Saturday.

“I don’t care how good a song is, if people don’t know it, they’re not going to sing along,” said the 29-year-old country crooner. “I want people to come to my show and forget about life and have as much fun as they can, and it’s hard to do that with songs you don’t know.”

The first single off that upcoming album, “Whisper” reached No. 17 on the U.S. Hot Country chart. Rice’s previous two singles, “Gonna Wanna Tonight” and “Ready Set Roll,” peaked at No. 2 and No. 5, respectively, on the U.S. Country Airplay chart.


Rice is coming as part of an effort to introduce new flavor to campus concerts

“We’ve done hip-hop, Capital Cities, which is more alternative, and we hadn’t done country in a while, so we wanted to see how that goes,” said Student Programming Council director Carly James. “We can use [SIU] Arena instead of Shryock [Auditorium]. It’s bigger and can bring the community in more.”

James said Rice was on a short list that included Cole Swindell and Paris, Ill., native Brett Eldredge. With a $75,000 contract, Rice fit the price range, genre and schedule the SPC was looking for.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307