Bud Rice’s debut album Belfast: March 2nd at O Patro Vys

Bud Rice. Photo by Steve Gerrard Photography Bud Rice. Photo by Steve Gerrard Photography

For those who missed the initial launch of his debut album Belfast, Bud Rice held a concert on March 2nd at the lovely O Patro Vys on Mont Royal. The show was opened by SoulStreet, another local band, who played a long set of funky songs, best described as what I would call reminiscent of Memphis soul.

Rice began his set with his song Who I Am, playing solo with his guitar. For his second song, however, he was joined by members of the Bud Rice Band to perform Through the Wind. The backup vocals on this song (and all other songs, for that matter) were wonderfully in tune, full of soul, and overall a great addition to the performance. Through the Wind was already one of my favourite tracks on the album, and listening to it live only made me like it more. As the set progressed, more musicians joined the band on stage until I counted ten – not including Rice.

There’s no one way to describe Rice’s music. As he weaved his way through the set, he played tunes that ranged from soft, calm songs with introspective lyrics, to songs with more of a rock sound. The best example I can think of is the difference between his songs Maybe Tomorrow (another one of my favourites), which was performed with the entire Bud Rice Band and has a clear rock vibe, and Who I Am, which has the simpler instrumentation of voice and guitar. Yes, they may be different styles, but if anything by doing this he proves that he can pull them off – and not just pull them off, but play them brilliantly.

While it’s clear that all of his songs deal with experiences unique to his personal life, it’s not hard to relate his lyrics to one’s own life. There’s a line from his song Belfast that I’m sure many a person can identify with: “My family’s crazy/ They love too hard/ They drink one more when they’ve gone too far” (who doesn’t have that one member at family gatherings who always has one drink too many?)

The band decided to finish things off with the song The Little Things, which was a great way to end the night. Among other things, this song really showcased the band’s great horn section.

Bud Rice is, without a doubt, an artist who is sure to deliver great new tunes in the future. Though I had already listened to Belfast prior to the show (and quite a few times within the last week, may I add), hearing the Bud Rice Band in a live setting gave me a new degree of appreciation for his music. The experience of seeing all of the musicians, up on the stage doing their thing, exchanging smiles here and there, and having an all-around good time, is something that’s going to stay in my mind every time I give a listen to this album.