Friday, July 9, 2010

Casey James Homework Assignments -- 1 & 2

One of Casey James 12,000+ Twitter followers, @Nickle_T (aka Nikki), asked for a daily homework assignment from Casey.  Song recommendations from Casey to his fans  -- a way to expose his fans to some of his favorites, songs and artists they might otherwise be unfamiliar with.

The first song suggested to fans was by Lee Roy Parnell. Looking at his biography, it becomes instantly clear why Casey James recommended him.

Lee Roy Parnell is part of a long line of Texas roots-music eclectics and is among the elite few who can be identified as a triple threat: an ace guitarist as well as a distinctive singer and hit songwriter. His music runs the gamut of diversity: blue-eyed soul, Deltablues, road house rock, Southern boogie, Texas swing, and gospel defying conventional classification. He draws from a broad range of music sources and combines them with seamless dexterity and, unlike many other hard-to-pigeonhole artists, Parnell has enjoyed a run of success on the country charts.
Except for the omission of the line "he first came to national attention when he was on American Idol," this could be Casey James' biographical introduction in the future.

The song that was part of the assigned homework is Breaking Down Slow which can be found on the CD From Hell to Gone & Back: Texas Blues.  Click on the link to Breaking Down Slow for the Amazon MP3 Download of the song, a duet with Bonnie Bramlett.

Here are the only clips I could find on YouTube, which had the song broken into two parts:

Part one:

Part two:

The second recommended song was by Keb' Mo'. Like Lee Roy Parnell, I was unfamiliar with Keb' Mo' and so did a little quick reading on him. It was instantly apparent that I've been living under a very large rock for a very long time. He's performed with some of my favorite singers, including Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt. He recorded with Papa John Creach of Jefferson Airplane. He's been in numerous specials and documentaries on the blues. He's even acted on Touched by an Angel. He is a traditional blues and gospel singer/musician from Los Angeles. He now lives in Nashville.

The song Casey suggested was Tell Everybody I Know, live at Austin City Limits. According to the set list from his performance there in 2001, he didn't sing that song, so I wasn't able to get that version. But here is another live performance of the song from Sessions at West 54th, in New York.

Listen, enjoy and then tweet your opinions to @caseyejames and post them here.


  1. @CJFan_Audrey (Twitter)July 9, 2010 at 10:54 PM

    Thanks so much for your post Shari. Hope you'll continue to post Casey's homework for us. I personally love knowing what inspires him :)

  2. Thanks for putting this together, Shari. Sometimes I like just looking things up on Youtube because I always find unexpected stuff, but this is the encyclopedia version - much quicker!
    Keb' Mo' is also a wonderful writer of music. He wrote all the music for a play called "Thunder Knocking on the Door", based on the Robert Johnson legend. Cheers, la peche

  3. While I'm familiar with some of Lee Roy Parnell's music, Keb' Mo' I'd never heard of before, so it was interesting listening to the music Casey is so inspired by...Thanks for the "homework assignment", it was fun!

  4. Shari,
    Don't feel too badly, you and I have apparently been living under the same large rock.....I am a HUGE Bonnie Raitt fan (for decades!)but never heard of/noticed anything about Keb'Mo'. Thanks for helping us with our homework....I, for one, obviously need it.
    I'll be thanking Casey too, of course!!!!

  5. Since I'm a huge country fan, I'm familiar with some of Lee Roy Parnell's music from the country realm. I'm not a die-hard Parnell fan, but I have liked alot of his stuff. As for Keb'Mo'...never heard of him. After giving a listen, I can honestly say I liked it. I'm a bit surprised at myself, as I am a COUNTRY gal all the way. Thanks, Casey, for the fun assignment.

  6. Thank you for the suggestions. Breaking down slow brings back the old time country mixed with blues, a very beautiful song. Gonna Tell Everybody is a quicker, lighter sort of carefree and uplifting beat. Cute song. I enjoyed listening to both of them!

  7. That YouTube version of "Breaking Down Slowly" is really not good. It misrepresents Casey's choice. He meant the recorded version from the album Tell the Truth, sung by Lee Roy Parnell with Bonnie Bramlett. It's beautiful. Get it from Amazon for 99 cents.

  8. Karen,

    I added a link to the duet in the post. Thanks for your help!

  9. I should have typed "Slow" not "Slowly"!
    Isn't that version of the song great ?

  10. Yep. I wonder if Parnell will get a little boost in sales from this? His most recent CD is "Back to the Well."

  11. Love Keb'Mo. Have seen him in concert a couple of times. One of my favorites is his Keep it Simple cd.

    Yep Karen's right the mp3 of Breaking Down Slow is so much better. Plus it has Bonnie Bramlett singing on it. Does anyone remember Derek & the Dominos with Eric Clapton? Bonnie & her husband Delaney were apart of that. See 1969 video of Bonnie singing with Eric Clapton. Amazing talent..see or copy & paste in YouTube search

    To see more of Parnell's guitar skills type
    Lee Roy Parnell - or copy & paste in YouTube search

  12. Keb Mo is great!

  13. I am a big Lee Roy fan and it's very cool to see Casey spark some interest in his music. If he's a fan, that puts him up many notches in my book and I already liked him a lot. Tell the Truth and Back to the Well are both awesome CD's and well worth purchase. Keb Mo actually joins Lee Roy for a song on Tell the Truth called "I Declare." They are good friends. My fav on that CD is "Right Where It Hurts."
    Lee Roy leans more towards blues than country these days, but sort of has his own unique smooth style, something I think Casey will probably develop when he has a chance to get his original music out there. The more you listen, the more you'll probably enjoy Lee Roy, especially his newer stuff, though his earlier hits are also some of my favorites. Look up "Love Without Mercy" written by Mike Reid (who also wrote "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt). Lee Roy writes a lot with Gary Nicholson & Tony Arata. Look them up as well as part of your "homework."
    If you watch Roseanne on TVLand you'll also see Bonnie Bramlett on thre as the other waitress in the mall diner. And...check out her daughter, Bekka.....I could go on and on....this is my "thang."
    I SO hope Casey gets to realize his dreams to the fullest and we get to hear him for a LONG LONG time! Can't wait to hear what he comes out with when he gets his chance.

  14. An added note. I read the interview with Kellie that mentioned Casey sang "Sending Me Angels" at their wedding....Lee Roy plays guitar on that song of Delbert McClinton's and is in the video which should be on youtube.