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"Every sunrise on another day is another chance to smile."

It's not often that the blues gets summarized with a happy platitude, but when Casey James inserted that phrase into "Hard Times, Heartaches & Scars," it was a hard-won truth. James is familiar to many as a finalist on season 9 of American Idol, and familiar to still more as a country artist who notched a Top 15 single with "Crying On A Suitcase."

But in Strip It Down, James comes into his own by following a simple plan: being himself. Instead of following the expectations of TV producers or the game plan of a well-oiled record company, James collected 14 songs he'd written or co-written, holed up in a Nashville studio with a trim, crackerjack band and hammered out the bulk of the album in a scant four days.

The music he loves is the blues. Between his shrewd playing and exuberant singing, the influence of Tab Benoit, Doyle Bramhall II, and Freddie King are highly apparent in Strip It Down, which folds in a variety of styles, all connected directly to that blues base. Raspy Delbert McClinton joins him on the opening track, a raucous bit of Texas roadhouse swagger titled "Bulletproof." From there, James courses through the dramatic blues/rock of "All I Need," the light country swing of "Stupid Crazy," the spacious old-school R&B of "Different Kind Of Love" and the gutbucket closer "Fight You For The Blues."

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CASEY JAMES
August 23, 2017
Showtime @ 8pm
Doors Open @ 6pm
Tickets $20 in advance, $25 day of show
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