Band bends, blends musical genres for fun

Rice will peform 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in CUB Auditorium for $5



Grant Howard, left, plays bass for Rice, a local band formed in 2017. Ryan McKinley, center, joined as a guitarist, vocalist and lyricisit for the band. Drummer Carson Garland, right, says Rice’s music includes songwriting similar to John Mayer, but incorporates both reggae and rock music. Their music is available on

MINDY MALONE, Evergreen copy chief

The musicians of Rice are used to bending the rules.

Ryan McKinley, Grant Howard and Carson Garland, natives to the Tri-Cities area, formed their band Rice in 2017.

Howard and Garland were already in a band together, playing bass and drums, respectively. They found out Ryan could play guitar, sing and write songs, and immediately welcomed him into the group.

When asked how to describe their sound, they said it was all over the board — music made just for fun.

“I would say our sound is a mix between bands like Phish and songwriting like John Mayer,” Garland said.

Rice makes songs like “Howwie” that are rock-style, or songs like “East 13th” that are more reggae.

In January 2018, Rice released its first CD called “Live at The Emerald of Siam,” a recording of their performance at The Emerald of Siam in Richland, Washington the month before. By mid-2018, they bought equipment for their own recording studio, and by March 2019 they released their first self-recorded album “Ross Tuesdays.”

The band has had to adapt over the last few months, as lead singer McKinley is now a freshman at WSU, and Howard and Garland are both in Tri-Cities.

Practicing long distance hasn’t been as hard as they expected, Howard said. The guys have spent so much time together, he said, they don’t need to practice with each other to know exactly what the others will be doing in that song.

“It’s gotten to the point [when we’re playing music] where we don’t even have to look at each other, we just know,” Howard said.

The group estimates that they have played together over 100 times so far in their time together.

A fond memory of McKinley’s was when the group played at a battle of the bands competition, McKinley said. The competition had just one rule — covers only. Rice performed all original songs and won.

“We thought we were going to be disqualified and they gave us the trophy,” McKinley said. “That was kind of flattering.”

The group has no intention of splitting up soon. Their plan for now is to make as much music as possible, draw a crowd and maybe make some money in the process, Garland said.

Rice will be performing at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 in the CUB Auditorium for the Sigma Nu philanthropy event in support of Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse. Tickets cost $5 at the door. Their music can be found on SoundCloud or on their website,