Casey James review…August 28, 2017…..

CASEY JAMES

STRIP IT DOWN

ALL I NEED–BULLETPROOF (DUET WITH DELBERT MCCLINTON)–HARD TIMES, HEARTACHES, AND SCARS–HURT ME MORE–I GOT TO GO–MESSIN AROUND–STRIP IT ALL DOWN–NEED YOUR LOVE SO BAD–DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE–SUPERNATURAL–KILLIN MYSELF–MAKIN UP–STUPID CRAZY (FEAT. BONNIE BISHOP)–FIGHT YOU FOR THE BLUES

Casey James is a fine bluesman from Ft. Worth, Texas, who had a good run  during the ninth season of “American Idol,” eventually finishing third overall.  As anyone who’s watched “Idol” or any of its contemporaries knows, sometimes an artist has to make compromises with who he is in order to please the judges, (which, during Casey’s run, included Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres), as well as the voting viewers.  It happened to Casey again with his record label, and they finally parted ways.  But, things have a way of working out, and Casey has just released “Strip It Down.”  The fourteen cuts herein are mostly Casey’s originals, either written wholly or in part by Casey, which finally let him do things his way, and returns him to his blues roots.

That’s the sheer fun of the whole project.  On here, Casey cuts loose on his guitar, and that smoky vocal style that won over many “Idol” viewers is on full display.  Plus, he gets by with a little help from some good friends, too, including producer and drummer Tom Hambridge, Tommy McDonald on bass, Kevin McKendree on keys, and the Muscle Shoals Horns on a couple of cuts.

The party starts off on a funky note with a song about being thankful for what you’ve got.  Hey–“I might not be a rich man, but I got All I Need.”  The horns add spice to the soul-blues ode to perseverance, ’cause there’s always gonna be some “Hard Times, Heartaches, And Scars.”

The title cut finds two lovers literally down at their own version of the Crossroads, as Casey implores her to “Strip It All Down” and go back to how “it used to be, before that fire burns out!”  This one bristles with a huge dose of Southern-rock passion, as does his brilliant read of Little Willie John’s “Need Your Love So Bad.”  He closes the set with a trip deep down to the Delta, with the plumb nasty slide of “Fight You For The Blues, ’cause nothin’ worth having  ever came free.”

We had two favorites, too.  Kevin McKendree goes into full-tilt Killer mode on the pounding boogie of of the very best thing about fighting with your lover, “Makin’ Up.”  And, sometimes you just want to go where “the music’s up waaay too loud,” and get a little “Bulletproof.”   The iconic Delbert McClinton is Casey’s duet partner here.

Since he’s no longer bound by anyone’s visions  of what he oughta be, Casey James has busted loose with a mighty fine set of roadhouse rockers and soul-drenched love songs.  He’s just like a stick of dynamite with the fuse sho’ nuff lit, so, watch out, fans, for “Strip It Down!!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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