Years before he topped the country charts with his own songs, Lee Brice was writing them for other artists.
After kicking off a co-headlining winter tour with Chris Young last weekend, Brice made a quick detour to Boston, where he joined Garth Brooks for a surprise performance of “More Than a Memory” at the TD Garden. Brooks, who was wrapping up a sold-out, six-show residency at the venue, had taken “More Than a Memory” to Number One in 2007, giving Brice his first hit as a songwriter. The TD Garden performance marked the pair’s first time sharing the stage, not to mention one of the first times in recent memory that Brooks has invited an unannounced guest to join him in concert. (When Justin Timberlake sang “Friends in Low Places” with Brooks recently in Nashville, it was Brooks playing the role of surprise guest.)
Brice wrote “More Than a Memory” during a post-midnight burst of inspiration last decade, driven out of bed by memories of an ex-girlfriend. Once daytime arrived, he took the song to Kyle Jacobs and Billy Montana, who helped him piece the whole thing together. After making its debut at the Grand Ole Opry — where the song received a standing ovation before Brice could even get past the first chorus — “More Than a Memory” made its way to Brooks, who was looking for new material to add to a greatest hits album. The song was released on 2007’s The Ultimate Hits and debuted on the country charts at Number One, something no other song had ever managed to do. Until last month, that is, when The Voice champ Craig Wayne Boyd repeated Brooks’ feat with his single “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face.”
Coincidentally, the “I Don’t Dance” singer isn’t the first contemporary country artist to pen a hit song for Brooks. In fact, one of Brice’s best friends, Jerrod Niemann, did likewise, writing “Good Ride Cowboy” — a 2005 tribute to late singer Chris LeDoux — for Brooks.
Following the Saturday night surprise duet, Brooks tweeted to Brice: “Lee, can’t thank you enough for making the late Saturday show so special! Boston loves you and you deserve it! Love you, pal, g.” Brooks’ tour heads to Pittsburgh on February 5th for four days of performances.