Album Review – Bud Rice “Belfast”

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Montreal singer/songwriter Bud Rice (known to his mom as Henry Rice-Gossage) has been playing his blend of upbeat soul, rock and intimate ballads in venues around the city since he was just 15 years old. He’s about to release his debut album, Belfast, recorded here in Montreal at Hotel2Tango Studios, and will play Le Divan Orange on Friday 30th January to celebrate its release.

Belfast is titled after Rice’s grandfather and mother’s hometown and is an eclectic record demonstrating his varied musical influences. The son of Montreal legend, Dave Gossage, Rice has been exposed to music from a very young age. For a debut record, Belfast is a quite astonishing achievement.

The album begins with the solid rock stomp of Maybe Tomorrow, a soulful yet gritty song that immediately lets you know that this is an artist with potential to go far. Imagine a mix of Ryan Adams, Jeff Buckley and even a little Michael Buble vocal and you won’t be far off. Dying To Know keeps the soul and funk to the fore, with added horns and a little swagger. The vocals are smooth and believable; the sound rich and accomplished.

Price Edward Island takes things down a notch or three with an acoustic ballad that demonstrates Bud’s lyrical skills and reminds me slightly of Damien Rice (no relation) if he’d been more influenced by R&B. Female backing vocals and a touch of slide guitar add to the song nicely which leads perfectly into the slightly more upbeat Burlington.

The songwriting and playing throughout the record, which was produced by Rice’s father and mixed by Warren Spicer (Plants and Animals), is of such a high level you may wonder why his name is still relatively unknown in his home town. I have a feeling that may all be about to change!

The Little Things brings the funk back after a few mellower tunes, those horns and soulful backing vocals working beautifully as Rice sings his heart out. Hands As Worn clocks in at almost seven minutes and is one of the record’s real highlights. A heartbreaking, piano-led ballad, it once again highlights Rice’s strengths as a songwriter.

The rock riffs and distortion pedals return for the album’s title track as it builds to a soaring crescendo before the album’s intimate closer, Who I Am.

Some may find parts of this album a little too slick for their tastes but nobody can deny the level of talent on display here. From the arrangements, the musicianship, the passionate vocals and accomplished songwriting, this is an album that, in an ideal world, will take Bud Rice far beyond those Montreal bars and on to a worldwide audience.

Catch him at Le Divan Orange on January 30th. It may be a night you’ll tell your friends about for years to come.


Bud Rice – guitar vocals
Marc Beland – drums
Jo lorgis – bass
Senja Sargeant (Ladies of the Canyon) – vocals
Franky Rousseau – Guitar

Additional musicians on the album include:
Dave Gossage – guitar/bass flute
Joe Grass (Patrick Watson, The Barr Brothers) – pedal steel
Chet Doxas (The Sam Roberts Band) – tenor sax
Andy King – trumpet
Jason Sharp – baritone sax
Eric Hove – alto sax
John Sadowy – piano/organ

Review – Steve Gerrard

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