Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Casey James' Musical Influences

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.


  1. Wonderful topic once again Shari !
    I remember that story about Casey & Deep River Blues and grandma.. I think of it quite often (when I listen to the song).

  2. Thank you so much Shari! This is great!

  3. I love learning of Casey's musical influences. He has introduced so many to music we've never heard. He has introduced people who've never listened to country music to some of the most wonderful songs ever written!...same for all genres he has introduced us to. Thank you, Shari, for this wonderful collection of Casey's favs!

  4. Thanks again Shari! I love it that he is so versatile in his music! That's why we love him as an artist. Never boring!

  5. Oh, good music.. ♥
    Thanks, Shari!! :)

    So.. Silverchair, I'm not surprised.. listen to Casey singing Freezing. :) But Tonic, there I was suprised, a good surprise though.
    And since you brought that up, talking about looking good or not.. maybe it wasn't the case. Most of time it's about knowing the right people, being at the right place at the right time.
    I can give you a few examples of successful bands with "not good looking" vocalists. Nickelback, I remember when they were new to the audience, their vocalist was listed as one of the ugliest men of rock or something like that (he doesn't look that bad in my opinion heheh). And Radiohead? I LOVE tem, one of my favorite bands, but Tom Yorke isn't what I call handsome..
    Being good looking can go wrong, when the person IS talented. Who never heard someone saying Casey went that far on the show only because of his looks?

    Anyway, I love that Casey tries to listen to everything without caring about what kind of music he's listening to.

  6. Great article Shari! Thanks again.

  7. Thanks again, Shari. Wow, you are going to have so much of your homework done on Casey James, it will be that much easier when you write that epic novel about his life. Reserve me a copy.....
    Karen Smith (kdsaa4)

  8. Loved all of this, Shari! Thanks for ALL the homework you did! This is all so very interesting and entertaining and I believe, like Karen said, there may be a novel in your future on the wonderful Casey and his family. I really enjoyed this today! Thanks so much!! MAE777

  9. Great post again Shari! Thank you!
    Heather aka @thankyoublues

  10. I was wondering whether Storyville would ever be mentioned as an influence. I have loved them for years! Wish they were still touring. Casey has good taste.

  11. thank you so much Shari!i plan on staying up tonite and listening when everyone goes to bed.
    cant wait......

  12. Loved this article.It's wonderful to know more of the music Casey likes.He is multi talented multi music!! He will always be growing & working on new things!! God bless you Casey James!!! You've made me laugh & made me cry!!

  13. @CJFan_Audrey (Twitter)September 21, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    This is great Shari! Thanks so much. I really enjoyed listening to all these tracks and I could hear the influence it's had on Casey's music, even if the genres vary. I really love Deep River Blues. It's the first time I have ever heard it and honestly not something I would have ordinarily listened to. I was also surprised to learn Casey covered Tonic's If You Could Only See. I would love to hear his rendition. This make me all the more excited to hear the first album!

  14. Shari You have done it again girl!! thank you!!! Well, I am not surprised by anyone you listed for the simple fact each and everyone show in his playing and singing, What does surprise me ( always) is that at his young age,he has all this knowledge of great music past and present. Me, I am old, I should know these things if I claim to love all music, but Casey, he is a baby!! But yet, he knows, he loves, and he plays! Goes to show, he wasn't watching tv growing, he was watching and listening to music being played all around him, how blessed are he and Billy, wow! And I totaaly agree, visual is needed as much as audio at times,but when I am looking at the singer ( can't not look at Casey) I also love to watch the hands. In the last Videos I have been watching from the Ranch, I don't know what zone Casey is in, but it sure makes me wish I were that guitar!! lol Yeah, I am old, but I ain't dead yet!! lol I just keep reminding myself, I am a great Granny, and he one of my lastest adoptees!! hahaha Everyone in town and in Granbury Texas call me Granny Mam, and they tease me and say " No hot guy will get past Granny's eyes!" lol But I love the kid, I love his family, and you are the best for keeping us informed like you do, you are an Angel!

  15. Great article Shari! I love the song by Tonic!! It doesn't surprise me that Casey would do that song!I could picture him now! OMG! Get the visual?? As always interesting read and great to get all the details about Casey.. Its knowing everything about him that makes him so amazing..Can't wait until he can unleash his talent upon us once again!

  16. Holy cow! When Casey sang Medicine Man, there must have been women bursting into flames right there in the club!
    Thank you,Shari. I really enjoy your articles.
    la peche

  17. Malu, you make some good points. There are lots of reasons why bands are or aren't successful beyond one hit. And that song was a huge hit in the 90s. The focus on Casey's looks maligned his talent when he was on Idol.

    I always hoped Casey would do more SOTD. These insights definitely help.

  18. Thank you for the interesting article Shari. It's so nice that Debra shares her family music with us that meant so much to them throughout the years. I enjoyed them all but particularly enjoyed Storyville, Doc Watson and Merle Haggard. I appreciate your post so much and all the very interesting articles you have taken the time to put together for us. Thank you again. I also very much enjoy the comments written. They are all very interesting. Today, I have to say Granny Mam, thanks for the smile.

  19. Edgar and Johnny winter were real big when i was a teenager,they were so awsome.Frankenstein Edgar Winter Group!!!!!!!!!

  20. One thing that really strikes me about this article is... THAT TONIC SONG WAS FROM 13 YEARS AGO????? What the freak? I can't believe it...I love that song. Seriously, 14 years ago? So, if I'm 29 now (shut up) that came out when I was...ahem...15. How was I getting into bars at that time? Man, bouncers were really lax back then.

    Seeing these performances and hearing about so many of Casey's influences, makes me just a bit misty eyed...because I think of all the songs he has in his arsenal (that's right, arsenal) that I'm never going to see him perform. Don't mean to bum everyone out, but makes me a little sad for all I missed. I blame it on my folks. They could have just as easily lived in Ft. Worth as Sacramento. They relocated here from Southern California, and it's not like we have family here!!