Casey James' fans know, of course, that he was greatly influenced growing up by Stevie Ray Vaughan and is a huge fan of Doyle Bramhall, II. But when I spoke yesterday with Casey's mom about some of his other musical influences, a few new names came up. As Casey is in Nashville taking the preliminary steps to putting together his first album, it's a good time to look at some of the many artists who have influenced him over the years.
One band that Casey and his brother Billy Cole used to listen to quite a bit was formed when some members of the Arc Angels (CJ fans will remember his cover of their "Shape I'm In") went off to form a new group. It was comprised of Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Malford Milligan. They were joined by David Grissom and David Holt to form the band Storyville.
Here's Storyville performing Good Day for the Blues
Another artist you might want to explore is Chris Duarte. According to Debra, Casey and his brother Billy Cole used to do a cover of one of his songs, Cleopatra. While I'd love to show you the BC and Casey version, for now we'll have to settle for the original.
Debra also mentioned that one of her mother's favorite songs was Deep River Blues by Doc Watson. When her mother passed away in 1997, Debra said they had a music-filled funeral in her honor. She told me that at one point, Casey "pulled up a chair in front of her coffin and played that one for her."
When his grandmother was alive, Casey also played Stevie Ray Vaughan's Pride and Joy to her.
Now, here's one that surprised me. It's by a band named Tonic and while you may not remember their name, you surely will remember this song that Debra said Casey used to perform:
If You Could Only See
As a side note, and I hope no one takes this the wrong way, but there is one glaring reason that a band with a song this good was not hugely successful. And it's not their sound. Sadly for some, music is driven as much by the visual, not just the auditory. Casey is lucky to have the look to go along with the talent.
Another name that was mentioned was Silverchair. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised since I knew Casey and BC were fans of Pearl Jam and Audioslave and Alice in Chains. But then she also mentioned Ricky Skaggs, which just goes to show that Casey's musical tastes and influences are impossible to categorize. I guess you can say he likes good music, wherever it comes from. Which in this era is refreshing.
Merle Haggard was the name, after SRV and DB, II, that came up the most. Half a Man, Ramblin' Fever and Are the Good Times Really Over were all songs Debra mentioned as favorites of Casey's.
Are the Good Times Really Over
Last one she mentioned Casey covering was Johnny Winter and his song Medicine Man. Boy, I would have loved to hear Casey sing this!
Hope this helps keep you busy until we have some new Casey news.