Lee Roy Parnell fans will be thrilled to know that he is releasing his first collection of new songs in 11 years this August with Vector Recordings’ Midnight Believer. The new project, due out Aug. 11, includes 10 tracks Parnell penned with Greg Barnhill, who he attributes with helping get him out of a musical slump of sorts.
“When Greg came to me with the idea of us getting together to write, I was experiencing something of a dry spell,” explains Parnell about the new music. “I hadn’t written anything in months and hoped the fog would lift but when you’re in a dry spell you always wonder, ‘What if the words don’t come…where is my ability to come up with fresh musical ideas?’ Greg saw through all that, lit a new fuse and just like that, we were off to the races. The songs were literally coming faster than we could write them down. Sometimes you just need a little help from a friend, and I certainly got lucky with Mr. Barnhill’s enthusiasm and encouragement.”
The new project includes some help from artists like Parnell’s dear friend Etta Britt and The Fairfield Four, who sang the “Keep On Walking” line repeated in the bridge of the song “Sunny Days.” It marks the second time Parnell has collaborated with the gospel legends.
“Some of you might remember our version of ‘John The Revelator’ for which we got a CMA Vocal Event of the Year nomination back in 1999,” says Parnell. “You can’t hear these four men sing together without feeling the Spirit move you. ‘Sunny Days’ would not be the same without them.”
Of course the album is infused with plenty of the blue-eyed soul that Parnell is known for as well.
“One of the best things about gaining some maturity is you finally find out ‘Who You Is and Who You Ain’t,’ admits Parnell. “That said, I’d have to say that the song ‘Too Far Gone’ on the new album best describes me as an artist, now. It’s clearly a Blue-Eyed Soul ‘Beat Ballad’ as Barry Beckett (of The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and my first producer) would call it. Barry really taught me how to make records. He taught me about groove, soul, vocal delivery and how to make every note count! The message here is in life and love we ebb and flow. We have good days and tough days. What counts is going the distance (or at least as far as you can).”
Pre-order for the new album begins today here. Parnell will debut the new music during a series of dates this Summer and Fall, including several “guitar army” dates with John Jorgensen and Joe Robinson. He’s clearly happy to be back making fresh new music for the fans and is eager to keep the momentum going. “Only now do I feel like I’m truly hitting my stride. Lifers don’t quit, you know. I’d like to keep making a record every 18 months of so…record with some friends of mine again. I want to keep making music that comes straight from the heart.”
1. Hours In Between
2. Midnight Believer
4. Too Far Gone
5. Sunny Days (Feat. The Fairfield Four)
6. Want Whatcha’ Have
7. Hair Of The Dog
9. Tied Up And Tangled
10. Some Time Ago
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