|Born||May 27, 1983|
Johnathan Rice (born May 27, 1983) is a Scottish-American singer-songwriter. His first album, Trouble is Real, was released on Reprise Records on April 26, 2005. His follow up, Further North, was released by Reprise on September 11, 2007. He has also worked as a producer on Jenny Lewis' Acid Tongue (2008) and as a session and live musician with Elvis Costello (2008's Momofuku). As of 2010, he performs with Lewis, as Jenny and Johnny.
Rice was born in Alexandria, Virginia on May 27, 1983. He spent his childhood between there and his parents' native Glasgow, Scotland. He attended two high schools, Washington D.C.'s all-male Jesuit Gonzaga College High School and Glasgow's Turnbull High School in the suburb of Bishopbriggs. He also attended Fairfax Collegiate Middle School in Falls Church, Virginia.
Before graduating from high school in 2001, Rice befriended Chris Keup, a Virginian singer songwriter and self-styled A&R man. Keup produced Rice's first known recordings, the six song Heart and Mind EP, which was recorded in Charlottesville, V.A. with engineer Stewart Myers and then informally released on Keup's own Grantham Dispatch Records.
Rice moved from Virginia to New York City at the age of eighteen with 1,000 copies of the Heart and Mind EP and the intention of launching his career as a singer/songwriter. He arrived in New York two days before the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Imagery of the attacks and their aftermath appear in the lyrics of several of the songs on Trouble Is Real, including "City on Fire", "Put Me in Your Holy War", and "Salvation Day".
Rice played small folk clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, most notably playing regular sets at the Living Room at its original location on Stanton St., and built a live following that lead to headlining performances at its revamped Ludlow St. location. Rice lived in an apartment in Mid-town Manhattan and worked different jobs to pay the rent, all the while writing the songs that would make up his debut album.
Rice's EP caught the attention of A&R man Perry Watts-Russell, who had just left Capitol Records to begin working at Warner Bros. Records. He flew Rice out to Los Angeles, where he auditioned for Watts-Russell and label head Tom Whalley. Rice was subsequently offered a record deal with the company.
After several attempts at making Trouble is Real, Rice enlisted Mike Mogis, the producer of Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, and The Faint. The album was recorded over five weeks in Lincoln, Nebraska. The two worked alongside string arranger Nate Walcott to create a rich, diverse sound for the album, with most songs leading into one another as a single work of music. The album was finally released on April 26, 2005.
The album failed to break into the charts but was a favorite of TV music-supervisors, leading to high profile appearances of songs on The OC (Rice's song "So Sweet" is featured on the OC Mix 2) and Grey's Anatomy.
Rice toured Trouble Is Real extensively, mostly as a support act for acts such as Jesse Harris, Mason Jennings, Starsailor, Martha Wainwright, Jenny Lewis and REM. The group, introduced to Rice's music through guitarist Peter Buck selected him to support them in London's Hyde Park in July 2005 in front of a crowd of 80,000 people. Rice played the concert with his touring band, Death Valley, a lap steel and harmony group that featured Neal Casal (who would go on to found the Cardinals with Ryan Adams), and "Farmer" Dave Scher of the Beachwood Sparks and All Night Radio.
Rice's appearance at the Hyde Park concert and another performance at the 100 Club are captured on film in the 2005 documentary Johnathan Rice and Death Valley: Live in London.
Motion Picture Roles
Johnathan Rice played Roy Orbison in the Oscar-winning 20th Century Fox movie Walk the Line alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon and contributed to its platinum selling, T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack. He also appears in an episode of Boy Meets World.
Collaborations with Jenny Lewis, Elvis Costello, and others
In 2006, Rice joined Jenny Lewis' touring band and played on her debut album Rabbit Fur Coat. This was the beginning of a years-long stint of collaborations with Lewis. During the second leg of the tour, the band began performing a Rice composition, "Carpetbaggers." This song would later be recorded for Lewis' second solo album, 2008's Acid Tongue, with Rice's original vocal part reinterpreted by Elvis Costello. Costello enjoyed the session with Lewis and Rice so much that he decided to bring in his band, the Imposters, to record a full album of new material with Lewis, Rice, Farmer Dave Scher and Jason Lader, resulting in 2008's Momofuku.
In the winter of 2006 Rice enlisted producers Farmer Dave Scher and Jason Lader to make his second album, Further North, at Los Angeles' Sound City Studios. The record was mixed at Hollywood's Sound Factory and mastered in New York City by Greg Calbi. The record was released on September 11, 2007. Seven of the record's eleven songs were co-written with Jenny Lewis.
In the spring of 2007 Rice toured with Ben Gibbard, Jenny Lewis, and David Bazan finishing their tour May 21, 2007 at the Showbox in Seattle.
Rice again toured the record extensively both with a full band and solo acoustic, again mostly as a support act for The Good Life, Rilo Kiley, Matt Costa, and the Redwalls. In 2008 Rice co-headlined a tour with Maria Taylor of Azure Ray, and played Los Angeles' Sunset Junction festival.
In 2008, Rice acted as a producer, musician, and co-songwriter on Jenny Lewis' second solo album, Acid Tongue. The record was recorded back to back with Elvis Costello's Momofuku at Sound City Studios. Rice again joined Lewis' touring band for her 2008 - 2009 world tour, which included memorable performances at the Coachella and Bonnaroo festivals.
The Emerald Triangle Tour
In October–November 2009, Rice joined Vetiver's Andy Cabic, Farmer Dave Scher, and 60's rock-revivalist Jonathan Wilson for a five date, California-only run of shows dubbed "The Emerald Triangle Tour." The tour took the band through the Emerald Triangle, a three-county area where the vast majority of California's marijuana is grown and harvested. In a press release, the newly formed group said the purpose of the tour was to "have some fun and celebrate the current Green Rush." The tour was profiled in the May 2010 issue of High Times Magazine.
- Extended Player 24:26 (EP) 2004
- Trouble Is Real 2005
- A Girl Called Miami EP (itunes only) 2007
- Further North 2007
- Good Graces 2013
Jenny and Johnny
- I'm Having Fun Now (2010, Warner Bros. Records)
- Walk the Line (2005) ... Roy Orbison
- Mark 8:36 (2005) ... Desk Attendant 1
- Johnathan Rice at the Internet Movie Database
- Blender.com interview with Johnathan Rice
- Johnathan Rice interview at StereoSubversion.com