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Lee Roy Parnell

Part of a long line of Texas roots-music eclectics, Lee Roy Parnell's music was a blend of hardcore honky tonk, barroom rock & roll, blues, boogie, Western swing, blue-eyed soul, and occasional gospel. Unlike many other hard-to-pigeonhole artists, Parnell actually enjoyed a run of success on the country charts in the early '90s. He was born in Abilene, TX, on December 21, 1956, and grew up on his parents' ranch; his father had toured with a teenage Bob Wills in traveling medicine shows, and his first public performance came on Wills' radio show at age six. As a teenager, he played drums in a local band and soon picked up guitar as well, eventually concentrating on slide playing. He joined Kinky Friedman's Texas Jewboys in his late teens and moved to Austin in 1974 to join the city's budding music scene.

Parnell spent over a decade playing clubs in Austin, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth, honing his style and songwriting; he also married and held down a day job in radio. He moved to Nashville in 1987 and quickly landed a publishing contract and a regular spot at the famed Bluebird Café. He signed to Arista's Nashville division in 1989 and the next year released his self-titled debut album, a collection of horn-driven country-soul. It received good reviews but didn't break him commercially; that would happen with 1992's Love Without Mercy, which mostly dispensed with the horns and emphasized Parnell's slide guitar. "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am" and "Tender Moment" both went to number two on the country charts, and the title track also made the Top Ten. 1993's On the Road produced two more Top Tens in its title track and "I'm Holding My Own," and his duet with Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn) on Hank Williams' "Take These Chains From My Heart" made the Top 20. 1995's We All Get Lucky Sometimes found Parnell tailoring his sound to country radio a bit more and featured duets with Trisha Yearwood, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jimenez. It also spawned two Top Five hits in "A Little Bit of You" and "Heart's Desire." However, 1997's commercially disappointing Every Night's a Saturday Night proved to be Parnell's last new album for Arista, which issued the compilation Hits and Highways Ahead in 1999 to coincide with his departure. Parnell next wound up on the rootsy Vanguard label, debuting for them with 2001's Tell the Truth. He returned to the studio in 2006 with Back to the Well. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Heard him at Music Midtown in Atlanta in the mid-90's. Way fabulous. Good band also. Had Reese Wynans on keys. Met Reese, who is a nice guy and very talented also.
joescootem
Lee Roy Parnell and that slide guitar playin, wow, my kids grew up on his music. My kids are now in their mid 20's and still are cranking the lee roy up!!!
I love you Lee Roy
I agree with Dan. I wish more new country sounded like the good old stuff
Lee Roy Parnell is a one of a kind talent. Anyone who played with Bob Wills AND Kinky Friedman before his real career started . . . well, that kind of tells you all you need to know. He has the touch with that slide. Lee Roy is one of the absolute best singer, songwriter, musicians to come along in the last 50 years.
jangray1655
I have always loved LeRoy Parnell's music and voice. Hoping for a comeback soon.
Lee Roy is simply Great, voice, music, lyrics, wish that for Lee Roy: people were on the Bandwagon and Truly Appreciate His Talent's.
bailemos
I'm with y'all. I was always disappointed that "Every Night's a Saturday Night" didn't do better. I was brilliant, and the musicianship was superb. I'm still a big fan, and I'm glad he went back to his Texas roots with "Back to the Well." Really good stuff!
What I like about Lee Roy is he is a great musician,sin g e r , s o n g w r i t e r and just a good person.Saw him at Harbor Docks in Destin Fl.in 1994 what a great show he took requests and even let some over exuberant fan get on stage and hug him and he told security to leave her be and kept right on performing what a great guy!
hblee67
Another great artist, songwriter, and musician from Texas. Very underappreci a t e d too IMO. Too bad he got buried under all of that manure that Nashville is shoveling out, all for the sake of selling records. Most of that crap makes me want to barf. I don't know what it is but it ain't country.
Most underappreci a t e d artist I know of. My favorite. How dare you compare him to Neil McCoy. He blows.
Parnell's slide always touches my heart no matter the mood I'm in. The notes he doesn't play are as important as the notes he does play when riding that Fender.
cmotta5
LEE ROY IS GREAT - OUR DAUGHTER AT 2 YRS OF AGE LOVED DANCING TO HIS SLIDE GUITAR.
Writes his own stuff, and for many others

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