SMOOTH SAILING Minisce and Chace.
Fifteen years and 10 albums on, Becky Chace continues her steady ascension as one of Rhode Island’s most revered singer-songwriters behind a fantastic new album, Rise and Fall ($12.97 at cdbaby.com and coming soon to iTunes). Chace will have her full band in tow for the CD release party at Sandywoods next week; advance tickets are recommended and available at brownpapertickets.com.
Chace is a natural-born hustler, playing more than 200 shows per year with musical soulmate Brian Minisce; she also continues to tour with international quartet the Jammin’ Divas, and the revered Neil Young tribute crew, Forever Young.
To say Chace is entering her prime may discredit her extensive (and excellent) back catalog, which has sold more than 10,000 copies since her solo debut in 1998. But there is no denying the confidence and charm on display across her tenth full-length release, which was co-written and produced by Chace and guitarist Minisce. The later answered the help wanted ad Chace placed in the Providence Phoenix following her debut release, and the duo instantly clicked.
“Brian and I get along really well personally, but the most important thing is that we have the same musical goals,” said Chace when we caught up earlier this week. “We always want to put the song first and make sure we find the right groove.”
Minisce renovated his West End home studio, Sonic Sugar Productions, and Chace cited the benefits of not working under time (or financial) restraints, which allowed her songwriting to flow. The duo also self-produced their previous release in 2007, an acoustic album titled A River Under Me.
This time around they enlisted some notable local artists to lend a helping hand in the studio. Veteran rock trio the Complaints serve as backing band on the opening track, “Jack-of-All-Trades,” which is dedicated to her deceased father. “From you I learned I could do most anything/Yeah I could drink, swear and smoke, and I was lucky ’cuz I could sing.” She ain’t kidding. Chace’s primary influences, Lucinda Williams and Bonnie Raitt, peer through when she delivers the bittersweet hook, “He taught me how to be a man when I was just a girl.” Roomful of Blues trumpet maestro Doug Woolverton brings “The Waitress” to life, and Steve Allain delivers nimble classical guitar notes on a sweetened lullaby titled “The Sea.”
Born and raised in Warwick (Vets High class of ’93, stand up!) and currently residing in Barrington, Chace is a RI lifer and understandably so. The Ocean State’s endless shoreline provides inspiration. “I have a mild obsession going on with water, sailing, and pretty much anything nautical,” Chace says. “The Sea” was penned upon her return from the Vic-Maui Yacht race, a two-week journey from Victoria, BC to Maui (living in cramped quarters alongside five people).
And while Chace and Minisce have gone through about a dozen bassists and drummers over the years, the Becky Chace Band is now officially fortified with Mark Minisce (Brian’s brother) on bass and backing vocals, and Eric Hastings on drums.