The nearly lost art of the exciting acoustic record is exemplified in Butch Rice's Acoustic Pop. This is excellent songwriter material served straight-up. One voice, one guitar, recorded live. But rather than the typical approach to the genre the collection of slow, death-and-loss-ridden numbers (which is an excellent approach itself see Nebraska), Rice has given listeners a predominately uptempo record of honest, raw emotion.
At times pounding the guitar more for rhythm than chords, at times picking out sparkling melodies, Rice proves himself an adept guitar player, keeping the single-instrument tunes lively and surprising. The warm timbre of his voice is smoky and rich and easily works in both mellow ballads and stomping rave-ups.
Stylistically, Rice has hit upon a combination of coffeehouse folk and college rock that should strike a chord with anyone. This Louisville, Ky.-based writer understands the importance of a simple phrase sung well and the emotive power of one chord where others might place three. His approach on the topics of love and love-lost are never too sappy, never too namby-pamby but always dead-on.
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