Lee Roy Parnell is part of a long line of Texas roots-music eclectics and is among the elite few who can be identified as a triple threat: an ace guitarist as well as a distinctive singer and hit songwriter. His music runs the gamut of diversity: blue-eyed soul, Deltablues, road house rock, Southern boogie, Texas swing, and gospel defying conventional classification. He draws from a broad range of music 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 charts.
Parnell 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 Lee Roy's 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, and New York while honing his style and songwriting.
Lee Roy 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."
Following his deal at Arista, 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. Also that year, Lee Roy made the segue into the music publishing world by co-partnering in a company, Dean Parnell Music. In addition to being a music publisher, Lee Roy is currently producing and writing with some of the most influential songwriters and recording artists nationwide.
Lee Roy Parnell Playlist- (click the gray box in the bottom right corner to bring up the entire playlist)
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