Lee Brice Goes ‘Crazy’ Over Christmas
Lee Brice had tons of family Christmas traditions growing up in Sumter, S.C., many of them he carried into adulthood. To name a few, he and his family always watched 'Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' around the holidays, and were permitted to open one present on Christmas Eve. But some of his parents' yuletide rituals were not revealed until he and his brother became adults.
"This particular tradition I didn't know until a couple of years ago," Lee reveals to The Boot. "My parents never drank a drop of any kind of alcohol or anything in front of us, but a couple of years ago, we actually got to join in, my brother and I. Daddy liked eggnog, and I always remember his tasted a little different than mine, but he puts a little bit of whiskey in his eggnog, just one time of year. That's what we can do one time of year as a family, so now we throw a little bit of whiskey in our eggnog and sit around and enjoy it and watch 'Rudolph.'"
Another one of Lee's annual traditions begins the day after Christmas. "For the past 10 years, my two best friends from college and myself and my brother, we go camping," shares the South Carolina native. "The day after Christmas, every year, we get into our Jon boats and we go up around North Myrtle Beach, there's swamps way up on the Waccamaw River as far as we can by boat [carrying] tents, wood, saws, food and we go up as far as we can up into the woods and find some dry land. We go there for four days and it's freezing cold and it's awesome. We duck hunt, we fish, we set out trout lines and we sit around and play guitar, shoot guns and drink whiskey. That's something that I really look forward to, and now being on the road so much, obviously I love getting home to see Mama and Daddy, but I also look forward to getting out, away from everything and just deflating for a week in the woods and never change clothes. [laughs]"
One particular year was pretty sentimental and heartwarming for the 'Love Like Crazy' singer. "A few Christmases ago, I realized that for some reason I had never really played any music for my grandparents, and I had been writing and singing since I was ten," Lee says. "Here I was on the radio, playing shows with everyone from Willie Nelson to Kenny Chesney and writing songs for Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks so I decided to bring my guitar to our Christmas dinner. I ended up sitting the family down and playing a few songs for everyone. I watched my Grandpa tear up the whole time I was singing. I could see the pride welling up inside of him and pouring out. It was the first time I had ever seen that kind of emotion from him; it had been a long time since I had seen a smile so genuine. I left there so happy I had done it. Granddaddy died a couple months later so instead of me regretting that I never shared my heart and songs with him, I was relieved and overjoyed that I had. That's definitely my most wonderful Christmas story."
Lee has a few weeks off the road before kicking it into high gear when he makes his way to Farmington, N.M., January 19.