Although originally known as the guy who, upon Kara Dioguardi’s request, stripped off his shirt during his American Idol audition, Casey James quickly became one of the show’s leading contestants, celebrated for both his guitar skills and bluesy vocals. Born in Cool, TX, James spent his adolescence and early adulthood in nearby Fort Worth, where he became a regular at local venues like the Keys Lounge. In 2008, he launched the Casey James Band with his brother, Billy, and family friend Jacy McCann, but the band took a hiatus one year later, when James auditioned for the ninth season of American Idol.
James sailed through the show’s preliminary round and gained admittance into the Top 24, which began competing in early 2010. Accompanying himself on the guitar during all but one performance, he received high marks for renditions of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven,” Huey Lewis’ “The Power of Love,” and John Lennon's "Jealous Guy." James eventually finished third, trailing behind fellow guitar-toting singers Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze.
James signed with 19 Recordings/BNA at the end of the summer of 2010 and he began the slow process of recording his debut album. As he toiled away, he kept himself in the spotlight by touring, opening for Sugarland during spring of 2011. About a year later, that album--appropriately entitled Casey James--appeared in March of 2012, debuting on the Billboard charts at number 23. ~ Andrew Leahey