Often, when you’re a fan of the headliner, you may not give much thought to the opening act. You might mill about outside the venue, plan on coming late, or engage in conversation during those early sets. That would be a terrible mistake if you are going to any of the Sugarland concerts this coming March. Because those of you lucky enough to have tickets to these concerts will be able to say you were there for the debut of Casey James.
If you’re not familiar with Casey James, here’s a quick refresher course. James was signed last year by Sony Nashville to its BNA label and is due to have his first single out this spring with his debut album due later this year. Casey James, is a singer-songwriter-musician who hails from Cool, Texas and who has been playing a mixture of blues, rock and country in a number of bands in and around Fort Worth, for over a decade. He counts among his biggest influences artists ranging from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Merle Haggard.
James came to national attention when he was on Season 9 of American Idol and wowed the live and TV audiences, the guest mentors, and the judges with his wicked guitar skills and sometimes honey-soaked, sometimes smoky vocals. He impressed with a number of ballads, then knocked it out of the park with his take on some rock classics. His performances of Bryan Adams’ Heaven, Shania Twain’s Don’t and Keith Urban’s You’ll Think of Me, showed tenderness, emotion, and passion. Then, he wailed and jammed on I Don’t Want to Be, It’s All Over Now and Hold On I’m Coming, bringing down the house.
James was responsible for the two most memorable moments on American Idol last season. His haunting version of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy was widely hailed as the most moving and electrifying performances of the season. And, during the finale, he stole the show with a duet with Bret Michaels on the latter’s Every Rose Has Its Thorn that had everyone talking the next day. The videos fans took of his triumphant hometown concerts last May, when James made it to the Top Three on American Idol, showed further just how talented and versatile a performer he is.
Last summer, as part of the American Idol Live Tour, James was universally praised by concert goers and reviewers alike for his exhilarating set. He ripped it up on the Black Keys’ I Got Mine and three other songs which he had performed on American Idol, bringing the fans to their feet each night. The full set from one of the tour stops, Chicago, is available to view in two parts here and here.
Since then, James has been working on his debut album, collaborating with a number of Nashville hit makers, including Aimee Mayo, Randy Owen, Dallas Davidson, Jaren Johnston, Patrick Davis, and recent Grammy-winner Tom Douglas, as well as some secret partnerships. He also has been putting together his new touring band which will be debuting some of these new songs as part of his opening set for the Sugarland tour.
If you are going to any of the Sugarland concerts this March, make sure to get there early and enjoy the opening set of the Casey James. Not too far in the future, you can boast that you saw him first.
Follow Casey on Twitter here.