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Romance Yields Songs For Johnathan Rice

Of the Oakland Press

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Johnathan Rice doesn’t address the romantic nature of his relationship with Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis. But he’s happy to talk about the creative component of it, which resulted in seven co-written songs for the Scottish expatriate’s second album, “Further North.”

“It kind of grew out of us playing together in the same band,” says Rice, 24, who backed Lewis while she toured to promote her 2006 solo album “Rabbit Fur Coat.” “We often found ourselves playing — off stage, backstage, in some dirty dressing room in Brussels or Pennsylvania or something, working out an idea.

“Our musical collaboration was a very non-serious thing, just having some fun, really. But we got some good tunes out of it, for sure.”

Collaborating is nothing new for Rice, who also played Roy Orbison in the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line;” many of the songs on 2005’s “Trouble is Real” were also co-written, including one with Lewis. But he acknowledges it was unique to have someone as intimately involved in the material as Lewis was on “Further North.”

“I had to take my ‘No Girls Allowed’ sign down, which was a bummer. All the guys made fun of me, so I felt a little weird about that,” Rice says with a laugh. “But now we’re going out (on tour), we’re gonna put the sign back up in the van, for sure.”

Johnathan Rice opens for the Redwalls on Thursday (Nov. 29) at the Pike Room in the Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $8. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

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