Album Review: Casey James’ Self-Titled Debut
Fans have been patiently waiting for Casey James to put out an album after his third place finish on the ninth season ‘American Idol.’ Unlike some of his fellow ‘Idols,’ Casey took the time to write his own material and make sure that he put out an album that could stand alone instead of riding the coat tails of ‘American Idol’ fame. With classic and southern rock undertones, a bluesy influence, and excellent guitar work, Casey has managed to put out a solid debut album that will be very inviting to new listeners.
Casey often showcased his talent with a six string while on ‘Idol’ however his real talent with a guitar is shown throughout the album. “Cryin’On A Suitcase” has a great rolling melody that is paired with a rocking chorus that seems to be made for the radio waves, and a fantastic lead guitar part that is enhanced by piercing steel guitar accompaniment. This song is about that missed opportunity, where the girl is already gone by the time you realize she’s ‘the one’, and although love is definitely not a new topic in country music, the song still has a refreshing quality about it. Of course, there are several love songs throughout the album. “Love The Way You Miss Me” has a raw, yet tender, quality in both his voice and his guitar playing that is sure to make any female swoon. Then there’s “So Sweet”, which will have you daydreaming about your significant other. It definitely has a gentle, bluesy feel that feels like your head is in the clouds and the subtle vocal runs really put this song over the edge between a filler song and a great song.
Casey doesn’t just do the soft, sweet love songs though. “Tough Love” shows off more of Casey’s classic rocker side with hard hitting lyrics that provide great imagery and an edgier rhythm to match. “Drive” is definitely a song that will have your windows down, your hair blowing in the wind, and the volume dial to the max. With a fantastic blues influenced tone that is led by Casey’s wailing guitar, you’ll be rocking right along with lyrics like “I don’t care if it’s a highway or a dirty country road/I don’t care if I’m leaving or coming home/I don’t know if it’s the sound of that tuned-out radio/I don’t know if it’s the smell of that burning smoke/But here I go.” Another highlight of the album is “Workin’ On It”. The upbeat tune adds depth and a fun quality to the album. Everyone will be able to relate to this song that tells the story of not quite having the perfect life, but ‘workin’ on it.’ These songs, paired with the softer ballads, provide just the right depth and layers that an album needs to be one that you can listen to from beginning to end without skipping a track.
Perhaps it’s because Casey James co-wrote 9 of the 11 tracks, or maybe it’s because he co-produced the album with Chris Lindsey, but regardless, no one can deny that Casey having a hand in the creative process was definitely an attribute to the album. Whether people know him from his time on ‘American Idol,’ or they recently discovered him at country radio with his single, “Let’s Don’t Call It a Night”, both should be satisfied with his debut effort. His soulful voice and guitar playing are spot on, his song choices are near perfect, and the album as a whole should prove to be a solid foundation for Casey to grow upon in the coming years.
Other standout tracks:
“The Good Life” – This upbeat tune that leads the album will get you “feeling ready for whatever they day’s gonna bring”!
“Undone” – This is one of those songs that makes you want to cuddle up under the covers on a rainy day with your loved one. The soft whine of the steel guitar gives this song a sexy feel.
-Jayme O., CMIL Contributor