Lee Roy Parnell – Midnight Believer | Album Review

Lee Roy Parnell – Midnight Believer

Vector Recordings

leroyparnell.com

10 tracks

Lee Roy Parnell is a long standing, award winning country music star who hails from Abilene, Texas.  He’s been performing publicly since he was 6 and is noted for his slide guitar work. He grew up on a ranch which influences his outlook on life and joined Kinky Friedman’s Texas Jewboys in his late teens.  His bio is filled with all sorts of firsts and accolades; he’s a polished and certified star who is loaded with talent.

Parnell is on vocals and guitars throughout and Etta Britt and Greg Barnhill do backing vocals.  On tracks 1, 4, 7 and 10 are Tom Bukovac on guitar, Kevin McKendree on keys, Steve Mackey on bass, and Lynn Williams on drums.  The other six tracks feature Rob McNelley on guitars, Mike Rojas on keys and accordion, Greg Barnhill on bass and Chad Cromwell on drums.  The guitar work and keys throughout are well done and the backlines are solid.  Parnell’s vocals are more country and rock than anything and the song flavors really don’t venture munch into the blues but the album is still well done rootsy Texas music by this long-time singer, songwriter and guitar player.

“Hours In Between” gets things moving.  It’s a soulful rocker with a nice guitar solo.  “Midnight Believer” is a down tempo ballad cut, a little bluesy, more country and rock.  Another nice guitar solo is featured. “Pontchartrain” is a Cajun country piece, down tempo and I guess masquerading as slow blues. “Too Far Gone” opens with some interesting guitar and backing organ.  It then becomes another slow rock song with a country flair.  That’s not bad in and of itself, but this is a blues magazine.  Very soulful and sultry in the approach, the song is well done.  “Sunny Days” continues the thread of slow, woeful cuts with vocals and guitar that pull at one’s emotional strings.  The Fairfield Four do backing vocals, giving things a Gospel feel as they join in.

The second half of the album begins with “Want Whatcha Have,” a mid to up tempo rocker with an interesting groove.  “Hair Of The Dog” has a driving beat and a stinging guitar lead and solo.  It’s a really good rock cut.  “Going Uptown” is a Southern rocker with lots of fuzzy guitar, cool keyboard work and backing vocals.  The next cut is very country; “Tied Up And Tangled” slips and slides like s lazy river flowing.  Big guitar here, too.  The album concludes with “Some Time Ago,” a slow country ballad.  Another cut with lyrics of woe with an interesting guitar solo and work.

It’s a really good country rock album.  Why it was submitted here for review does not really compute.  It’s not blues, does not try to be blues and does not contain any blues.  It seems like about half of what comes in for review any more is not blues.  Parnell is a great guitar player and has a persona that really comes out in his recordings and live performances.  If that’s your cup of tea, this will be something for you to pick up.  But it’s not a blues album.

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