The Real Thing

Studio Album by released in 2005

The Real Thing review

The Real Thing will give Bo Bice a foothold to the upper levels of the popular music charts

Season Four of American Idol seems to have produced the best one-two punch of them all, with excellent albums from both Carrie Underwood and this long haired rock singer, born Harold Elwin Bice Jr. (and nicknamed Bo.) Up until now, those who weren't fans of the show and were introduced to Bice's heart-on-his-sleeve brand of southern rock through either his fall 2005 guest spot on Carlos Santana's All That I Am or his chart-topping turn on the single Inside Your Heaven may have been tempted to write him off as reality-show riffraff. But his debut album, The Real Thing, redeems the hirsute, hard-charging rocker. No stranger to the world of music, Bice had made public appearances before his life changing Idol success, but this well honed album will give him a foothold to the upper levels of the popular music charts. The Real Thing is a showcase of various styles and sounds. The credits include Nickelback's Chad Kroeger, former Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora. As the runner-up on American Idol, Bo earned a chance to work with top-notch producers and songwriters like Marti Frederiksen, Kara DioGuardi, Clif Magness, Max Martin and John Shanks. And he's seizing the opportunity and gives us a cornucopia of delights.

Simple lyrics, catchy choruses and well-produced songs

Bice steps lively through a cavalcade of soaring guitars and top-drawer hooks, and he doesn't skimp on the belting. If Bice sounds less earthy here than he did on the show few will be disappointed. This is modern music with a Southern-man twist made irresistible by a bare-it-all guy who means it. The album opens with the title track, an easygoing tune that complements Bo's smooth voice. You're Everything is a cool classic rocker, written by Chad Kroeger. Full-flame lament Nothing Without You, written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and John Shanks, is tailor-made for a future hit single. Also look for Hold On To Me and Bo’s own Valley of Angels. With passionate vocals, Bice lets his emotions fly on the crushing breakup song Remember Me, insistent rant sunk chest-deep in sincerity. Other interesting tracks include the straightforward rock 'n' roll goodness of Lie...It's All Right, the nostalgic exploration of It's My Life, where he shares writing credits, and the melodic, Sambora-penned Willing To Try. Simple lyrics, catchy choruses and well-produced songs abound on this album, and Bice's voice fits nicely with each song. In what has been a roller coaster of a year for Bice, he shows that he can roll with the punches and pull off a polished debut.

A seasoned musician old enough to have something to say

Husky-voiced Harold "Bo" Bice was born in Helena, AL. With a father who played guitar, banjo and mandolin and a mother who sang at the Grand Ole Opry and was part of a group called the Singing Jays, Bice has been leading bands since his days as a teen in London, where he had a group called Spinning Jenny that played in the pubs. Before he auditioned for American Idol, Bice was doing country, southern boogie and rock with his trio SugarMoney. He also brought his Southern sensibility with him to the fourth season of Fox's long-running talent contest. Bo Bice knows there’s always a degree of critical suspicion leveled at anyone from the enormously popular program, particularly those performers who don’t necessarily consider themselves “pop” singers. Indeed Bice’s roots in gospel, country and rock are quite evident on his new album. But at 30, he is a seasoned musician and he is actually old enough to have something to say. He is aiming to be more of a self-made man than many of his American Idol predecessors. Bice does many technical things so easily, among them projecting his voice across registers, naturally adjusting to tempos, smoothly and convincingly telling stories. The Real Thing is certainly meant to hint that the performer is driving his own material and collaborating more with songwriters and producers than most along the Idol assembly line.