Casey James News — Holiday Reflections

According to the American Idol website, Casey James’ motto is: “Be happy in your situation. It could always be worse.” This is not just a platitude he throws around; from all accounts he sincerely believes this to be true. Just a quick review of some of Casey’s interviews over the past six months shows similar sentiments sprinkled throughout. “I’m the kind of guy that accepts whatever happens and is always happy about it,” he told one interviewer, later adding, “Any situation in life that’s difficult, you just do what you can.”

When asked a question whether he had regrets about the unconventional way he made it past the auditions, he answered, “It’s kind of the same way I look at everything in life. It led me to where I’m at. Had I not done that, I might not be here.”  And he told me, quite simply, in our last interview,  “I try to look at the positive side of things.” 

So where did this positive attitude come from? That was the question I posed to Debra “Bybee” James after reading off to her these and other positive affirmations I had heard him make. She took no time in telling me from where she thinks it emanated — the motorcycle accident in 2004. “The accident completely turned him around.”

According to Debra, “From that point, he was so blessed to feel like he had another chance to live and make good and be the person that he wants to be. It’s a daily journey. We never get to the point where we are there completely. It’s a fight, everyday, to try and be a better person. And that’s what he does.”

She looks back at the accident as “divine intervention.” “He should have died, but instead he had a rebirth.” She said the positive outlook that he carries with him now, started them. “No matter how bad it gets, he’ll rally quickly. ” The psychiatric nurse used a little professional jargon to explain how Casey keeps up no matter what is going on around him. “He’ll reframe his thoughts and he’ll get okay quick.”

While Debra traces Casey’s positive attitude to the accident, it is clear that having a good outlook, not wallowing in self-pity or worrying about how things might be different is in his genes.  As Debra told me earlier this year, this is how her father lives his life, how she was raised and what her sons learned.  “My dad is very, very much that way.  Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and quit complaining and get on with what you need to do.   Not in a harsh way; he’s the most loving, gentle soul.   But he is a very wise person about how he sees things, and I think he’s had a tremendous impact on my life as well as my boys.  He is very wise, and not a complainer.”

This conversation takes on more poignancy now that Debra’s father is battling cancer.  In interviews with all three members of the James’ family, his importance in their lives is clear.  Debra describes her dad as the patriarch of the family, who had a significant role in raising both Billy Cole and Casey.  “Both of my boys worship my dad,” Debra told me.  Both would often mention him in anecdotes and it was clear what a huge presence he had in their lives growing up and continues to have. 

Casey told me how the pick guard he used on his second song on American Idol,  I Don’t Want to Be, was a present from his Papaw.  He also discussed how his love for fixing up old cars came from his grandfather as well.  “One of the things we’d always do.   My Papaw is very handy and anything that isn’t perfect he has to make it perfect and fix it.”

Billy reflected on the influence his Papaw has on his and Casey’s life when we talked this past summer.  “That’s where Casey and I get a lot of our old school, World War II, hard-headed, hatred of computers and most things that are modern.” 

As Casey sets off on the road to country stardom, Billy could point to his grandfather as providing the initial exposure to that genre of music.  “Growing up with Papaw as our father figure out here, we had a healthy respect for Waylon and Willie and Merle. That old-school, three-chord country. We listened to that a lot.”

Getting to know Casey James through interviews with him and his family has shown the very best of family values — the love, the closeness, the support.  Fans of Casey James have gotten to know not only him but his whole family and feel a certain connection to them.  We appreciate their positive outlook, no matter what is thrown their way.  Right now their lives are a mixture of highs and lows, a sanguine time as Billy would say.  On the one hand, they are of course excited about Casey’s success — the contract, the upcoming record, the tour that hopefully will follow.  Yet terribly sad that at the same time they are dealing with their grandfather’s serious illness.  Happy that Billy is now in Nashville, yet sad that the entire family has to be apart during this difficult time.    

During this holiday period, I wanted to express my fondness and gratitude for the James’ family and for all of their friends and fans whom I have met over the past six-plus months.  May we all try in our daily lives to adopt the positive outlook they have exhibited and to show each other love, caring and support.  And may we stay connected as this journey continues, wherever it may lead.


About Shari

Creator and Administrator of The Casey James Blog.
This entry was posted in Articles, Casey James, Exclusive interview, interviews, News and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Casey James News — Holiday Reflections

  1. Alexa Sanders says:

    His family is such an inspiration! Thank you Shari for helping us get to know them all so much more! Alexa

  2. @marieleathem1 says:

    I feel getting to know the James’ has had a great influence in how I’m handling the “valley” that I’m in now. Hey! It can be beautiful down here! And, Shari, that last paragraph made me well up….and the last sentence, whew! I think about this often…will we all still be connected 5 years from now? 1 year from now? I sure hope so.

  3. morningstar4us says:

    I am so thankful for being introduced to Casey and the James family and the many wonderful fans I have met, and of course, you, Shari, for you generousity of time and effort, in sharing all the information about this inspirational family. I’m “in” for the whole ride. I’m honored to be a part this group. Thanks everyone! (you all know who you are 🙂

    • Maryanne says:

      Thank you so much Shari! This article ,I think, describes exactly why all of us feel so “close” to Casey and his family. He has definitely helped me totally change the way I think on a daily basis, and it started with that first quote”be happy in your situation,it could always be worse.” I literally live by those words now. So much goodness has come from the entire James family, just by the way they live their lives. We have made so many friends through them, & I think these friendships will grow stronger over the years. I have told the family that the world brought us Casey James because people like us need people like them. Thank you for all the information and interviews you provide for us..making us smile with some “news” when there really isn’t any news to speak of! xoxo Maryanne

  4. Jen says:

    Like Maryanne, the James family really has changed the way I look at the world. Everytime I feel the negativity creeping in, all I have to do is think of that quote. This past year I have been happier, more generous, more positive and more open-hearted than I have ever been in my life. All of that is because by their example I have learned to count my blessings and look for the positive in every situation instead of dwelling on the bad stuff. Even though I’ve never met them I am so thankful to have been introduced to them this year through the music, articles, and interviews at a time in my life when I needed it most.

  5. everydayisa10 says:

    Thanks Shari. Lovely post as usual. Alexa, Marie, morningstar, Maryanne– heartfelt, genuine posts. Casey has inspired me to be more open about my faith and in turn it has opened me up to the need in all ppl to share their spirtuality- whatever that may be for them. So all I have to add is a simple, Amen.

  6. Jeanette says:

    No wonder Casey turned out wonderful, look at his family. They all love and inspire each other and us. I am so happy that I tuned into American Idol. I did not see Casey until Hollywood week. Saw his audition in rerun. My son was at my house and we saw Hollywood week together. I told him that I thought Casey was special. He said, “Well, he can sing and play. That is a step in the right direction.” I will watch his progress and enjoy every minute of it. Thank you for the wonderful things you write about him and his family.

  7. Outi says:

    Thank you Shari for this. And thank you Casey James for everything. 🙂

  8. Kathy T says:

    Thank you Shari for these “Christmas Memories”… What an appropriate time of the year to reflect on the profound influence one person can make on the world. As Jesus Christ did when he came to save all mankind and His influence has spread over thousands of years – we can all be thankful for God’s goodness.

    I truly believe that Casey was saved to help shine a light on goodness and that his entire family was put here to help him grow up with the “down to earth” Christian values that they all display. It’s time for GOODNESS to shine in the world replacing much of the darkness and evil that has been allowed to creep into our lives.

    I’m so grateful for the friendships I’ve made due to following “Casey” and his music… and I have to say that I’ve NEVER done anything remotely like this before… but “this ride” has been fabulous… I hope that Casey, B.C. and the James family will touch many more lives around the world as their “daily values” and music gets out there.

    I share so many of these same values – and much of it came from exposure to hard times and tough situations. I believe that we all will face many ups and downs in our lives – but when we turn out eyes to Heaven and let Our Lord take these burdens from us… life is easier. My brother always says to me “Give that up to God” and that is easy to say – but so HARD to do – “cause I keep takin’ it back”… This is especially true when something happens to loved ones or health issues… I struggle to always “give it up to Him” and then NOT take it back.

    God Bless all of you and as we each journey on our paths may we all find blessings and see the positive side of our everyday situations. Little “miracles” happen all around us – we just have to open our eyes to see them.

    Thank YOU Shari for all these articles… And so much gratitude goes out to the James family for being so “giving” and for sharing all their musical talents with us.

    Merry Christmas to everyone… God Bless You…

  9. daydreaminmeme says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful blog, Shari!

    Casey, his music and his family are one of the rays of sunshine in my life right now…as are the wonderful friends I’ve made as a result of our mutual love for these extraordinary people.

    Merry Christmas, Everyone! As Casey might say: A few words and a lot of love.

  10. spinnyjb says:

    In a materialistic, stuff-focused world, Casey and his family are a breath of fresh air. So very much to be thankful for this Christmas, and I am especially happy that I tuned into Idol for season 9. My life has been so amazingly blessed b/c of Casey…and I know I am not alone. I know in my bones that 2011 is going to be a great year for Casey, his family, his friends, and his fans. 🙂

  11. LaDonna Dennis (LDG_lildrumgirl ) says:

    WOW!!! Very nice article!!! I am proud to be on this ride with Casey and his family!!! ALL beautiful people, inside and out!! I have met so many wonderful people that I wouldn’t have met if it were not for Casey James and his family!! I look forward to see what the future holds for Casey!!! I know it will be wonderful!! I am along for the ENTIRE ride!!! I can’t wait bubba 😮 I wish Casey and the James family nothing but the best!!!! Love and Prayers to ALL of them!!

  12. Heather Blues says:

    Aww Shari, this is a great blog! When I think of 2010–accidentally discovering Casey, and later his fans and family, has been one of the great blessings!! Thank you for all your contributions that have helped us to get to know the James family, and helped us to get to know each other!!!! Blessings to you Shari!!!

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