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:
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.