It’ll be his biggest outing in the States to date, both in number of shows and in venue size. Rice has had mainly club runs and graduated up to include some theatre engagements.

His tour launches March 23 in Boulder, runs up the West Coast into Canada, then makes its way across the States to wrap at the end of April in St. Louis.

The Irishman just finished a U.S. outing around the start of the month, having been playing a loose schedule since September. Somewhere in there, he managed to pick up the prestigious Shortlist Award for his sleepy debut, O.

With the vocal backing of Lisa Hannigan, who will also perform on tour, Rice cranked out O in 2002. The album spent the better part of the year on Irish music charts and its popularity is steadily making its way across the Atlantic.

Although comparisons to David Gray and Jeff Buckley abound, Rice is definitely his own artist, out to do his own thing. He wasn’t about to let his record label dictate the direction of his career, so he ditched the label to start his own.

It proved to be a wise move on Rice’s part, as O is one of the critical favorites of the year.

Around the start of 2004, Rice will be playing the U.K. and Europe.