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Johnathan Rice: Wry and Brooding

Singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice's music strikes an accessible balance between independent and mainstream pop, drawing on the likes of Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, The Band, Joni Mitchell, and Gram Parsons. In a possible nod to Rice's '70s country-folk inspirations, last year's Further North feels more rough-hewn than the dramatic psychedelic pop of his debut. With the aid of Rice's band Death Valley, Further North sounds simpler, but it's still wry and brooding.

A musician since his teen years, the Virginia native spent his childhood in Glasgow, Scotland. When his peers went off to college, Rice relocated to Manhattan to transform his hobby into a career, arriving shortly before Sept. 11, 2001. Consequently, themes of war informed much of his early work. On the strength of his early EP, Heart and Mind, Rice began work with Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis on a debut album, and in short order signed a major-label deal. On tour, Rice has supported R.E.M. and Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins, as well as Lewis' primary band Rilo Kiley, and even portrayed Roy Orbison in the film Walk the Line.

Copyright 2008 XPN

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