SoundSpike spoke to Casey recently about his upcoming opening gig with Sugarland. In the article, Casey offered that the set list would include some of the new songs he’s been working on that might also make it onto his debut album. Casey was understandably very excited about the concerts, telling the interviewer:
It’s going to be unbelievable. I’m excited to get to watch their shows. I’m excited to get to play music and get to do my thing for everybody who’s been supporting me, as well as a whole new crowd. On every level, I’m pumped. I’m out of my mind excited to go.
While details of the album were still kept under wraps, Casey did provide a few hints:
It’ll be like a rockin’ bluesy country kind of thing. What I did on [American Idol] is a good representation of my style. I’ll just be doing material that I write. But it’s all country based. It’s that format. I don’t know how else to say it. I wouldn’t necessarily think of Sugarland as country music, really. That’s what I love about country. It’s the new everyone music.
As far as the actual release date, that remains a mystery. But, Casey assured the interviewer, the album would be worth the wait — which he promised “woudn’t be too much longer.”
As fans of Casey know well, Casey maintains a positive attitude and views life through a rose-colored prism. He has consistently maintained that he was grateful for the experience of being on American Idol and for where it has led him, regardless of where he finished. In this same vein, he told SoundSpike:
I’ve made it a million miles farther than I ever expected to go. Everything happens for a reason. I’m going to be thankful for everything that I got from it. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was so perfect for me.
In the end, what Casey is interested in is playing music for as long as he can. So it was no surprise that he said,
I’m going to work as hard as I can to go where I want to go with it, which is to continue playing music and to continue to have an opportunity to play for crowds, like I’m about to, opening for Sugarland.
Read the entire interview here.
Music Row had a guest editorial by Nashville-based writer Hazel Smith about outgoing Sony Executive VP of A & R, Renee Bell. In it, Smith shares some reflections and memories of Bell’s 15-years at Sony Nashville and all the acts whose careers she helped launch. One of the newer acts that Bell was particularly enthusiastic about was Casey James. According to the article,
With the same Renee excitement, she told me about Bradley Gaskin that John Rich brought to her and Kristen Kelly, a new act that Paul Overstreet had discovered in Texas, and Casey James. When I spoke with her a couple days ago she stressed how much she hated not being a part of their careers, but is so very proud and excited for all of them.
When the winner of American Idol is signed, it is a matter of formality. The rules guarantee that the title holder gets a recording contract. But beyond that automatic signing, the fate of the rest of the finalists is based solely on the record company’s belief in their talent and likelihood of success. Sony Nashville’s interest in and excitement about Casey James has been apparent since last summer, and this recent article just confirms what we already knew — within the company, the buzz about Casey James is strong.
No less than Sony Nashville Chairman and CEO Gary Overton, who made a special trip to see Casey perform live during the American Idol tour prior to signing him, has come out as a strong believer in Casey’s talent. As he said about Casey at the time the record deal was announced,
We at Sony Music Nashville are incredibly excited about signing Casey James. I flew to New York to see him live with the American Idol Tour and I was blown away with his voice, guitar playing and stage presence…and so were the thousands of fans in the amphitheatre. He has honed his skills as a showman with his years of performing live on stage! I can’t wait to get him into the studio to begin recording his debut album.
Back in January, USA Today writer Brian Mansfield tweeted about a conversation he had with another Sony executive, Lisa Ramsey-Perkins, who was working with Casey and “she speaks VERY highly of him & the music he’s cutting.”
Fans have been eager to hear more news about Casey and have sat by patiently, if anxiously, as two other Idol alums released albums, went on talk shows, and toured. But, as the proverbial tortoise and the hare taught us, it is not the quick who win the race. It appears that Sony has enough faith in Casey to allow him to, yes, fade from the public eye while working on making the best album he can, knowing that in the end it is the music that will be what matters. Their enthusiasm is palpable and particularly important because there is no reason for them to put their reputations on the line if they didn’t believe in him.
The wait is nearing an end. In one week, Casey will reemerge as the opener on the Sugarland Incredible Machine Tour. He will likely perform new songs and the fans will finally get to hear some of what he’s been working on these past months. More importantly, Casey will be introduced to tens of thousands of new fans who will discover what his old fans have known for some time. He’s about to take country music by storm.