Thursday at Fraze: Country singer Chase Rice headlines concert for military families

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ashland Craft and Clark Manson will also join the Hometown Heroes show.

Showing gratitude for the service of area military members and their families at big community events has been a major part of the Hometown Heroes Program since it began in 2003.

One of its annual staples is the Hometown Heroes Concert, returning to Fraze Pavilion in Kettering on Thursday, Aug. 11. Country singer Chase Rice headlines the show with special guests Ashland Craft and Clark Manson.

“I love military shows,” Rice said, “No matter what branch it is, there is always something very cool about it. We just did three in Hawaii in July, which was pretty special. We did K-Bay, Schofield and Pearl Harbor on the Fourth of July. We’ve done Japan and Korea before and they want to have us back in Japan.

“Both of my grandparents were in the military,” Rice continued. “One was Air Force and one was Navy so I grew up with military conversations and military stories about World War II. I love supporting our troops. I love supporting the United States military, period, so it’s awesome.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Hometown Heroes

J.P. Nauseef, who runs JobsOhio, was president and CEO of Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) when he started Hometown Heroes. He first teamed with the Dayton Dragons for special nights for military members and families. It expanded into the Big Hoopla, a partnership with the NCAA Baketball’s First Four Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena, and events like the annual country concert.

“J.P. is a veteran of the Air Force,” said DDC president and CEO Jeff Hoagland. “His dad was retired military so he was a part of the military his entire life. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is one of the crown jewels of Air Forces, not just in the United States but in the world and it’s right here. A lot of the research and development is happening here. This is our way to thank and celebrate some of the great Americans we have right in our backyard.

“We always get an act that’s military-friendly and donate the tickets to airmen and their families to enjoy a night at the Fraze,” Hoagland said. “This year we’ve got Chase Rice. We really appreciate that he’ll be playing in front of 4,000 military members and their families.”

While this is a military celebration, the concert is open to the public.

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Building community

Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, a supporter of Hometown Heroes, has been involved with the program since the beginning.

“We’re very fortunate to have Wright-Patterson Air Force Base here,” she said. “We want to continue to be known as the best community to host an Air Force Base. Our connection with the Air Force is critical and we recognize how important it is for us to not just continue that relationship but to continue making it stronger. It’s so nice to be able to celebrate our heroes, whether it’s at a Dragon’s game, a DaytonLive performance, the First Four or this summer concert. It’s wonderful to be there.”

Lieberman sees these initiatives as not only a way to say thanks but to also introduce those serving at WPAFB to what this region has to offer.

“We want to show our appreciation by sponsoring tickets, which is so important,” she said. We look at them as not only an economic driver for our region but also as our friends. When you go to work every day, you kind of live in your own little bubble and don’t always see what’s available. We’re inviting them into our community to show them what’s out there.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The headliner

Chase Rice was born in Florida but grew up in Fairview, North Carolina. He was a stand-out football player in high school and went on to play at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After college, he worked in pit crews for professional race car teams. Rice was also a contestant on the CBS reality show, “Survivor: Nicaragua,” in 2010. In a 2015 readers poll, he was voted the 10th steamiest male contestant from the series.

Rice, who was already pursuing a music career before his reality TV stint, released his debut album, “Friday Nights and Sunday Mornings,” in 2010. He immediately hit the road and locked into a cycle of touring and recording that only slowed down when the pandemic hit.

Rice’s latest full-length, “The Album,” was released in 2021. His new song, “Key West & Colorado,” dropped in late July but it’s not technically a single. According to Rice, it’s the first of three planned trial balloons to determine the official lead single from his still untitled sixth full-length, which should be released in early 2023.

“The new album is still in the works,” Rice said. “We took some pictures for it yesterday so it’s moving forward. ‘Key West & Colorado’ is the first song people have heard off this record. We’re not really picking a single. The label is champing at the bit to pick one and get something on the radio but I’m not doing that right now.

“I’m gonna put some songs out and see what people want,” he continued. “We have all of these platforms and different ways to hear music. Well, let’s use those as a test to see what we should put out to radio.”

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New approaches

Another major difference on this next album is the material was recorded in Rice’s house.

“It was as makeshift as it gets,” he said. “I don’t have a full-blown studio but we figured out a way to make it work. We took out some furniture but the vibe was still very homey. Usually, you’re done working around 5 in the afternoon but not us. We’d go 10 to 1 and then 2 to 5 and then we’d start working separately, away from the band, and we’d work until 2 in the morning, sometimes.

“It’s all real instrumentation,” Rice continued. “There’s no fake drums or fake instrumentation. We didn’t use a metronome or a click track on the entire record. We just did it all by feel. It’s as real as it gets for me. It’s got a lot more raw, organic feel to it than anything I’ve ever done. I’ve always wanted to do records that way and I finally had the nerve to do it so I’m excited.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

What: The Hometown Heroes Concert with Chase Rice and special guests Ashland Craft and Clark Manson

Where: Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11

Cost: $25 in advance, $30 day of show

More info: 937-296-3300 or www.fraze.com

Artist info: www.chaserice.com

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