Review: Lee Brice’s “Mixtape: ‘Til Summer’s Gone” EP

Lee Brice

With Lee Brice riding the success wave of his latest album I Don’t Dance, recently releasing the third single from the offering, “That Don’t Sound Like You,” it came as a surprise that the artist with one of the best voices in the genre would announce a new project for fans to purchase. However, at the end of last week, Lee’s new EP, Mixtape: ‘Til Summer’s Gone, became available on Apple Music and iTunes.

In explaining the release of the surprise summer-themed EP, Lee stated:

I’m constantly working on new music and I thought, “Why can’t I just share what I’m doing more often than every 18 months?” So I created a mixtape to give out during my CMA Fest Fan Club party. Word about the mixtape spread pretty quickly, so we’re making it available on Apple Music and iTunes on July 17th.

As can be assumed from the title and theme of the album, the six-track offering ranges from party songs to mid tempo tunes to power ballads with seasonally appropriate vibes. Whether you are looking for a playlist to tailgate outside a country concert, a soundtrack for a trip to the lake, or romanticized songs to memorialize a summer love, Lee Brice’s short album contains the tracks to satisfy your musical cravings.

While five of the songs are brand new (to those who didn’t attend Lee’s CMA Fest fan club party), fans of the award-winning, chart-topping Curb Records recording artist will recognize one track that made another appearance, this time as a remix. “Girls In Bikinis,” a 2014 summer anthem on country FM and XM radio, is reintroduced, this time with a Bubba Sparxxx assist, as well as with electronic dance beats laced into the background instrumentals. Also noticeable and notable are slight lyric changes by Lee, creating continuity between Bubba’s raps and the main lyrics of the tune.

Other highlights on the disc include the risque “Mixtape” and the slow track that allows Lee to show off his vocal prowess, title track “‘Til Summer’s Gone.” “Mixtape” pushes the envelope more so than fans are used to from Lee, incorporating a whimsical mentality regarding hooking up and having fun with a certain friend with benefits. With a catchy beat, “Mixtape” will leave listeners grooving and singing along to Lee’s lyrics, such as “they know I’m tapping more than just my feet to the music,” that are extreme departures from the sensitive crooner to whom they are accustomed. It is a refreshing departure, indeed, as Lee shows off a more playful and persistent side that has been unable to find a home on his records to date.

Title track “‘Til Summer’s Gone” brings us back to the Lee with whom we are familiar, as he belts and bellows in perfect pitch about a fling that will come to an end with the change of the seasons. Finding it difficult to come to grips with letting go of someone he cares about, despite the June through September confines that were placed on the relationship, Lee begs to freeze frame this time in his life so he can avoid the inevitable.

While Lee Brice remains true to who he is on this summer-specific EP, he appropriately and intelligently took the opportunity to place tracks that may not generally fit into his projects and create a disc that demonstrates another layer of the lovable artist. “Mixtape: ‘Til Summer’s Gone” is an EP that will lend kindly to your summer playlists, containing tracks to fit whatever activity you have in store.

Listen to Lee Brice discuss his decision to release “Mixtape: ‘Til Summer’s Gone”: