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Trouble Is Real

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Album Review

Trouble Is Real by Johnathan Rice finds a romantic with a sultry baritone. He's boyishly charming with vibrant enthusiasm, but he's not just another singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar, hungry to make a great first impression. This twentysomething is eager for a cinematic path to guide him through life's constant complexities. His vocal delivery is unforgettable, and vocalists such as Peter Gabriel, Nick Drake, and Ed Harcourt come to mind. Ignore the fact that all six of the songs found on 2004's Extended Player 24:26 EP are featured here. Listening to such EP standouts as "Mid November" and "My Mother's Son" once more won't hurt, thus making Trouble Is Real even heavier in sound and story. "Lady Memphis" is an old-timey foot-stomper with its sepia-toned array of organs and acoustic guitars. Other acoustic-driven tracks such as "Behind the Frontlines," "City on Fire," and "I Wouldn't Miss It for the World" showcase Rice's honest approach to songwriting, and it's quite enjoyable. Even more striking are the moments where he lets himself be a musician and a singer. "So Sweet" and "Salvation Day" thunder with so much feeling, the listener should want to grab for it. Trouble Is Real is a remarkable debut record, and those who fell for Pete Yorn's Musicforthemorningafter and adored the candidness found on Badly Drawn Boy's About a Boy won't be able to contain themselves.


Born: 27 May 1983 in Alexandria, VA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

When he was 16, singer/songwriter Johnathan Rice opened his mouth and let out a weathered, rustic sound that caught him by surprise. Like many teenagers obsessed with music, Rice just wanted to see what his voice sounded like when imitating his heroes, who included the likes of Joni Mitchell, the Band, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan. As consequence would have it, Rice decided to make his songwriting hobby a serious affair and returned to his native Virginia, having spent most of his life growing up in...
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Trouble Is Real, Johnathan Rice
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