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Johnathan Rice Heads for the ‘Desert’

It’s not a bad time to be Jonathan Rice. Your rootsy 2005 debut Trouble is Real gained accolades and opener-slots from bands as diverse as R.E.M. and Wilco, while your newest long-player Further North was co-produced by Jason Lader (Rilo Kiley, Maroon 5, Avril Lavigne) and Farmer Dave Scher (Beachwood Sparks, All Night Radio). To top it all off, you’re dating one of the biggest indie rock bombshells this side of Karen O — that would be siren-haired songstress Jenny Lewis. In fact, most L.A.-living twenty-somethings (by way of a post 9/11 New York) would feel pretty sated. But the near five-minute road-weary number “We’re All Stuck Out in the Desert” is a song about coming to grips with a success you’re not even sure you want.

Beginning with soft Tom Petty-like instrumentals (agreeable drumming, electric guitars that float on top of the mix like lily pads), Rice relays a story about a traveling man with a loose woman on the road to nowhere. This classic American fare is complimented by a chorus — “We’re all stuck out in the desert / And we’re gonna die/ Wipe that salt and sand from your blistering eye.” Whatever the metaphorical implications of this amorphous desert happen to be, one thing is clear; Johnathan can write a song like white on rice. Further North arrives September 11th via the Reprise label.

Now Hear This: Johnathan Rice — “We’re All Stuck Out in the Desert”

On the Web:
Johnathan Rice at MySpace

Talk: Will you follow Rice out to the ‘desert’?

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