New Artist Spotlight: Casey James
By Bob Doerschuk
Used by Permission © 2012 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
Casey James was born cool — or, more precisely, in Cool, a tiny Texas town not far from Fort Worth. With both parents playing guitar and singing, James inevitably followed the same path.
His aesthetic grew from a variety of influences — Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Bonnie Raitt, ZZ Top, plenty of outlaw Country and down-home blues. For all the range his favorites covered, they were united by their fundamentally emotional and expressive approach to music.
This didn’t escape James’ notice. Toughened and polished on the Lone Star club circuit, he chiseled a sound so distinctive that his mother suggested unleashing it before the judges of American Idol. Sometimes it pays to mind your parents, as James roared through the auditions and finished in third place for Season 9 in 2010. That exposure earned him a berth on the road with Sugarland on “The Incredible Machine Tour” during early 2011.
Relocating to Nashville after finishing Idol, James juggled live appearances with preparations for his debut album. Released in March, Casey James exudes confidence and professionalism. Nine of its 11 songs were co-written by James, including the debut single, “Let’s Don’t Call It a Night” (James, Brice Long and Terry McBride). The slow, sly groove, the way the two-chord verses set up the extended ending of the choruses and the playful sensuality of the lyric make it impossible to walk away without it repeating in your memory. It also establishes James’ accessibility as a writer and performer, qualities that are essential for building listener connections that last.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND
“Republic Commando: True Colors. Yes, I still read Star Wars books.”
“Someone squeezing the toothpaste tube from the top. Rage. Haha.”
“I’m not really a believer in lucky charms, but I pretty much always wear three rings on my right hand. I actually feel naked without them on.”
FAVORITE FOOD ON THE ROAD
PHRASE YOU SAY OVER AND OVER
“‘It is what it is.’ It says so much in a great way.”
On the Web: www.CaseyEJames.com
Follow on Twitter: @CaseyEJames