Two-time Grammy Award winner Floyd Domino, former band member & keyboardist of the famed Western swing band, Asleep at the Wheel, now has a string of acclaimed albums, appeared on 20 #1 hit singles including Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.
Inducted into the Texas Music Legends Hall Of Fame in 2019, Domino continues to explore diverse formats that include
Emily Gimble, recently named Texas State Musician of the Year 2020 and granddaughter of famed Texas fiddler, Johnny Gimble.
This blend of western swing, jazz, jump blues presented by Grammy-level talent would seem to be popular with our specific demographic.
Floyd’s tenure with Asleep At The Wheel and just the name “Gimble” (Johnny Gimble’s granddaughter) are positive selling points, not to mention Emily is officially 2020 Texas State Touring Artist of the Year (Texas Commission on the Arts) Emily played Austin City Limits w/ Asleep At The Wheel twice and worked with Merle Haggard. She explores Jazz, swing, folk and pop genres in her appearances.
Brennen Leigh’s Obsessed with the West. (And that’s a good thing.)
“I’ve been obsessed with western swing music since I was a kid and it’s always been an influence. My records in the past have ranged from bluegrass to country music to folk, but I’d never fully explored swing until now.” So says genre-busting Fargo-born, Austinincubated, Nashville resident Brennen Leigh, whose new collaboration with the kings of modern-day western swing, Asleep at the Wheel, Obsessed with the West (Signature Sounds) is a showcase not just for The Wheel or Bob Wills fans, but for anyone who’s ever curled up with Lefty Frizzell, Billie Holiday, Willie Nelson or even Louis Armstrong.
Leigh’s graceful, refined voice and instrumental fluency, her interplay with Ray Benson, and the perennial brilliance of The Wheel serve up a treat on this, Leigh’s seventh album, showcasing twelve self penned songs. With cameos from Emily Gimble and Katie Shore (all the players get their moments in the sun), Leigh demonstrates her wit and vitality on the terrific jump 40’s rhythm and blues, “Comin’ in Hot,” and the lonesome cowboy ballad “Riding Off Onto Sunset Boulevard.” It’s no question why Rodney Crowell, Charley Crockett and Lee Ann Womack have recorded her songs. Obsessed with the West is a celebration of music for music’s sake in 2022, not just an exercise in anthropology.
“When I moved to Nashville from Texas,” she explains, “for some reason it triggered another western swing phase in my life. I was out of Texas, but something about the swing was still grabbing me; I was listening to a lot of Bob Wills, and of course The Wheel. I had first been exposed to Western swing through my parents’ Asleep At The Wheel records while I was
Born in North Dakota and raised in Minnesota, Leigh began touring at 14, while cultivating her classic country informed songwriting. At 19, she moved to live music mecca Austin, Texas where she rubbed shoulders with and eventually inspired the esteem of Ray Benson.
“I knew the band peripherally, and we’d talked about making a record years before, but I had just signed a publishing deal in Nashville and was about to move away from Texas. So for that reason our stars didn’t align until more recently.”
“I wrote thirty western swing songs in the beginning of 2021, alone and with different writer friends,” she continues, “and we culled it down to twelve. Many of the songs have a 1940s Cindy Walker type vibe — she was at the forefront of my mind for this entire process, something of a spirit guide for me — but there’s definitely a jazz influence, country, and a couple of songs that I would call cowboy or folk tunes.”
“This is my love note to western swing; to the rich culture it comes from, as I see it,” she adds, “I listen to and have been influenced by a lot of dead people, but our genre is important, and I think it deserves new life and new songs.
The old stuff is where I come from, my songs turn out to be a melding of the old styles, whether I like it or not. You put cinnamon in something it’s going to taste like a snickerdoodle. I don’t know how not to put it in there.”
No need to worry about that either. Western swing is a fine genre year after year, you can’t beat Asleep at the Wheel, and Brennen Leigh is every bit their peer. Obsessed with the West is a treat for the ears and the heart, a damn fine snickerdoodle of great songs, topflight instrumentalists, and the vibrant, still evolving artistry of Brennen Leigh.
Lee Roy Parnell
No Depression may have said it best when they called Lee Roy Parnell “a fine writer blessed with a rich, soulful vocal delivery and a blistering array of guitar chops drawn almost equally from Texas blues, Memphis soul, and Southern rock traditions.”
Parnell is part of a long line of Texas roots-music eclectics and among the elite few who can be identified as a triple threat. An ace guitarist who is known as one of the best slide guitarists on the planet, smooth soul-drenched vocalist, hit top-shelf songwriter, his music runs the gamut of diversity. Combining the influences of Blue-Eyed Soul, Delta Blues, Road House Rock, Southern Boogie, Texas Swing, Country and Gospel, Parnell’s sound defies conventional classification. He draws from a broad range of musical sources and combines them with seamless dexterity and, unlike many other hard-to-pigeonhole artists, Parnell has enjoyed a run of success on the country and blues charts.
After honing his skills over more than a decade of playing clubs in Austin, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and New York, Parnell laid a new foundation in Nashville. Upon earning a regular spot at the famed Bluebird Café and a publishing contract, Parnell launched his solo career on Arista Records, which produced many country hits including “A Little Bit Of You” (#1 hit); “What Kind of Fools Do You Think I Am” & “Tender Moment” (both #2 hits), and four other Top 10 hits: “Love Without Mercy,” “On The Road,” “I’m Holding My Own,” and “Heart’s Desire.” Parnell also scored Top 15 hits on a moving collaboration with Trisha Yearwood—“When A Woman Loves A Man”—and “Givin’ Water To A Drowning Man.” Parnell has earned two GRAMMY® Award nominations for his instrumental tracks “Cat Walk” (with Flaco Jiménez) and “Mama, Screw Your Wig On Tight” and was nominated for the CMA Vocal Event of the Year on “John the Revelator” (with The Fairfield Four).
Parnell has received widespread acclaim as a guitar slinger. Gibson honored him with the creation and production of the Lee Roy Parnell Signature ’57 Les Paul Goldtop guitar, modeled after the only guitar Parnell owned from the time he was 15 years old until he was well into his 30’s. In 2019, Gibson and Parnell collaborated once again on the Lee Roy Parnell Signature 1959 Les Paul Standard.
During his storied career, Parnell has toured/collaborated with many music legends including the Allman Brothers Band, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Billy Gibbons, Taj Mahal, Merle Haggard, Delbert McClinton, Trisha Yearwood, Robben Ford, John Jorgenson, Flaco Jiménez, Anson Funderburgh, The Fairfield Four and many more over his storied career. In 2011, Parnell was presented with his most cherished honor: being inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, joining the likes of such talented composers as Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, JD Souther, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Guy Clark, Roger Miller, Mac Davis, Rodney Crowell, Billy Gibbons, Steve Earle, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Lefty Frizell, T-Bone Walker, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Delbert McClinton, and many other legendary singer/songwriters.
In 2017, Parnell released his first new album in over a decade — the critically-acclaimed Midnight Believer — on Vector Recordings/BFD. Parnell produced the Stax- and Muscle Shoals-inspired album and co-wrote all 10 songs with award-winning songwriter Greg Barnhill, including the poignant, yet hopeful “Sunny Days,” which features a special guest appearance by The Fairfield Four. Midnight Believer made All Music’s “Best of 2017 Favorite Blues Albums” list and received rave reviews from the likes of Keb’ Mo’ (“Call up your honey, get your favorite drink. And play this album”) and Rodney Crowell (“With Midnight Believer, Lee Roy Parnell is playing and singing better than ever. The band’s crackin’ and the songs are right on point”). Vintage Guitar raved in a review: “The big percolating funk of ‘Hours In Between’ sets the stage nicely…stylish chord changes, a fat guitar sound on the fills, and a nasty, biting feel on the solo gets your attention quickly…’Too Far Gone’ features a gorgeous, melodic solo that is warm enough to melt ice…this is one of the most pleasant surprises from 2017’s record releases.”
In addition to solo tour dates, Parnell has been performing frequently at the Grand Ole Opry. He has also toured over the past several years with fellow world-class guitarists as Guitar Army — first with Robben Ford and Joe Robinson and in a second lineup with John Jorgenson and Robinson. In 2018, Parnell was among the all-star list of guitar players invited to join legendary guitarist Steve Vai in Hollywood for Vai’s remarkable 53 1/2-consecutive-hour Big Mama-Jama Jamathon to benefit Extraordinary Families, a leading nonprofit foster family, adoption, and advocacy agency dedicated to improving the daily lives and long-term outcomes of children and youth in foster care. Parnell and Vai jammed on several songs together during the event. Other artists on the bill included Dweezil Zappa, Dave Navarro, Orianthi, Al Di Meola, Lee Ritenour, Steve Morse, Moby, and hundreds more.
When Parnell was recently asked to perform with The Texas Playboys, he jumped at the chance to join the timeless act while simultaneously reconnecting with his childhood in a powerful way, given his profound history with Bob Wills. Parnell’s father grew up with Wills just 30 miles apart in central Texas. As teenagers, Lee Roy says, “They ran off together to join Dr. Tate’s Traveling Medicine Show. Dad played guitar and Bob of course played fiddle. They were out selling elixir. It was the Southwest’s version of vaudeville. That was the beginning.” In the early 60’s, at the ripe age of six, Lee Roy was invited on stage to sing by the Kind of Western Swing himself on the radio. Bob Wills said into the radio, “Let’s bring little Lee Roy up here. He don’t back down to nothin’.” Lee Roy even owns one of Wills’ fiddles, which was gifted to him by the Wills family.
“Worry B Gone,” a song Parnell co-wrote with the legendary Guy Clark and GRAMMY®-winning Gary Nicholson, is featured on country superstar singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton’s latest universally acclaimed album release, Starting Over (released on November 13, 2020). The song, which has received critical acclaim in several Starting Over album reviews, was first released by Guy Clark in 2006, before being recorded by Willie Nelson and Kenny Chesney (2008), Whitey Johnson [Gary Nicholson] (2008), Hayes Carll (2011) and eventually Stapleton, who performed the song on NBC-TV’s Late Night with Seth Meyers in August of 2021. See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgAg8nr4bpA
In May 2021 at the Grand Re-Opening of The Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas, Mitch Ballard of BMI Austin presented Parnell with a Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) 4 Million AirPlay Certificate for the song “That’s My Story,” written by Parnell and Tony Haselden. The song was a big hit for fellow Texan, Collin Raye. Listening to the song 4 million times consecutively would take a person 24 years!
In April 2022, Parnell traveled back home to Texas (this time to Waco) for The Bowen Music Fest to join his buddy Wade Bowen and friends (old and new), including William Beckmann, Lainey Wilson, Josh Abbott Band, Ian Munsick, Jamie Lin Wilson, William Clark Green, Stoney LaRue, Deana Carter, Cody Jinks, Casey Donahew & Randy Rogers. The event featuring live performances for a very enthusiastic Texas audience raised over $500,000.00 for The Bowen Family Foundation, which provides aid to many Central Texas charities. Here’s what People Magazine had to say about The Bowen Music Fest 2022: https://people.com/country/wade-bowen-throws-bowen-musicfest-raises-500k-for-charities/
Parnell is currently working on new music for future release.