July 7, 2016

Chris Lane starting to draw a crowd

After breakthrough song ‘Fix,’ he’s excited to be opening for Rascal Flatts

For Chris Lane — the man and the voice behind the country hit “Fix” —
it was the perfect Christmas present: On the way to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for the Christmas dinner his mom was cooking, his new single “Fix” began playing on the radio.

“I tried to record myself,” he said by phone recently from his hometown of Kernersville, N.C. “It was a dream come true.”

Released last fall, the catchy song straddles the murky line between new country and pop — thank you, Taylor Swift — and has been getting a lot of airplay on country radio across the U.S.

Since being released last fall, “Fix” has steadily climbed the charts, reaching the No. 17 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Its sound has been criticized as sounding nothing like country, and its lyrics aren’t traditionally country either. You’d know that by the “Breaking Bad” reference: I’ll be your smooth ride, that late night, your Walter White high.

It’s a little bit country. It’s a little bit poppy, bluesy and dancy, too. And it wasn’t originally written for Lane, who breaks country tradition by singing at a higher register than most male country singers.

Co-writer Abe Stoklasa meant to put it on his own album, but after it was shopped around, Big Loud Records in Nashville wanted it — not for Stoklasa but for Lane, an up-and-coming artist whose falsetto singing style made him uniquely appealing.
“It feels really good to see the progression,” Lane said. “People showing up at the shows and singing along … it’s been great.”

What’s even greater? Opening for Rascal Flatts, which is bringing its Rhythm & Roots Tour to Chula Vista’s Sleep Train Amphitheatre on Friday.

“Excited? That can’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling,” Lane said the day before the new tour kicked off in North Carolina on June 17. “It starts in Charlotte, so it’s a hometown show for me. I spent my college career playing baseball in Charlotte, and I paid for more than a handful of Rascal Flatts concerts. I can’t even count how many times I’ve sat on the lawn watching them.”
Lane — who joins 22-year-old country-pop sensation Kelsea Ballerini as Rascal Flatts’ opening acts on this tour — knows the right mix of luck and pluck got him where he is today.

“I worked my way up,” he said. “I played a lot of bars and clubs and covered a lot of songs to get here.”

But if he were being honest, he said, if it weren’t for sports injuries, he probably wouldn’t be singing today.

“I grew up playing football and baseball,” he recalled. “That was my true dream. But I had several knee surgeries, and that last injury — and Keith Urban — was enough to get me interested in playing the guitar.”

And so began the journey to Nashville — one that, at times, seemed to be going nowhere.

“I definitely had goals,” he said, “but you just never know what’s gonna happen. I had many long drives in the van, driving across country playing to nobody.”
From playing to nobody to, if Friday’s a sold-out concert, 20,500.

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