Lee Roy Parnell

Pearl Street Warehouse Presents

Lee Roy Parnell

Janine Wilson & Max Evans

Tue · May 22, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:15 pm


This event is 21 and over

Lee Roy Parnell
Lee Roy Parnell
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. From the earliest years of his life, an ethic of hard work and perseverance was ingrained in to his psyche.

He reminisces, “I didn’t know it at the time but ranch life was preparing me for the profession I chose. Turns out the two are not at all dissimilar. There’s not a lot you can control. Whether it be a rough partnership with a record company, a manager or booking agency…to me it was no different than trying to change the weather. All you can do is work hard, stay focused and never ever give up. Never! No matter what ‘they’ might tell you. Outlast the naysayers.”

Historically, 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, Dallas/Fort Worth, and New York while honing his style and songwriting. Lee Roy moved to Nashville in 1987, where he quickly landed a publishing contract with Polygram Music, and a regular spot at the famed Bluebird Cafe. In 1989, he signed to Clive Davis’ Arista Records, led by friend and mentor, Tim Dubois. Produced by Barry Beckett, of the world-famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Parnell’s self-titled debut album featured 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 emphasized Parnell’s searing slide guitar skills. “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am” and “Tender Moment” both went to number two on the charts, and the title track also made the Top Ten. 1993’s On the Road produced two more Top Ten hits with its title track and “I’m Holding My Own.” The Hank Williams / Ray Charles track, “Take These Chains From My Heart” also made the Top 20.

In 1995, Lee Roy was asked to help launch Arista’s sister label, Career Records, with the release of We All Get Lucky Sometimes. The album was his most successful yet, spawning two Top Five hits in “A Little Bit of You” (number two) and “Heart’s Desire” (number three), and two additional Top 15 hits, “When A Woman Loves A Man” (with Trisha Yearwood) and “Givin’ Water To A Drowning Man.” “A Little Bit of You” was also a #1 hit on the Radio and Records Magazine charts; a first for a brand-new label. During this time, Parnell’s sound was becoming more defined by roots and soul music. He was also allowed the creative freedom to record with some of his heroes, such as Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jimenez. Their collaboration on the track “Cat Walk” garnered a Grammy Nomination for Best Country Instrumental.

Parnell released Every Night’s A Saturday Night in 1997. The album included Top 40 singles “Lucky Me, Lucky You” and “You Can’t Get There From Here,” another recording with Trisha Yearwood (the touching “Better Word For Love”) and the Grammy nominated boogie-woogie instrumental, “Mama Screw Your Wig On Tight,” which was written and produced by Lee Roy and his entire band, The Hot Links (James Pennebaker / Kevin McKendree / Lee Roy Parnell / Lynn Williams / Stephen Mackey).

Next up was Parnell’s Hits and Highways Ahead in 1999, a retrospective of hits featuring a handful of new tracks — “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” and “Long Way To Fall” among them. Lee Roy’s recording of the Son House tune, “John The Revelator,” featuring The Fairfield Four, garnered a CMA nomination for Vocal Event of The Year. The album also included the popular track “Honky Tonk Night Time Man,” handpicked and sent to Lee Roy by good friend and mentor, the legendary Merle Haggard. Following his years at Arista and Career, Parnell was ready to expand his musical horizons and partnered up with the rootsy Vanguard label in Los Angeles. His album with them was 2001’s Tell The Truth, which was recorded at the world-renowned Muscle Shoals Sound by Johnny Sandlin (chief engineer for Capricorn Records and The Allman Brothers Band). Special guests Keb’ Mo’, Delbert McClinton, Bekka Bramlett, and The Mississippi Mass Choir make appearances on the record, which include noted songs from Lee Roy’s catalog such as “South by Southwest,” “Breaking Down Slow,” “Right Where It Hurts,” and “Guardian Angel.” In keeping with his quest for more artistic freedom, he joined forces with Universal South in 2006 and returned to the studio to record Back To The Well. This album delved even further into his blues and southern soul roots with tracks like the romping title cut, fan favorite “Just Lucky That Way,” and the heartfelt “Daddies and Daughters.”

With the release of Back To The Well, Parnell received some very rare support from Gibson Guitars with a series of guitar clinics interwoven with tour dates across the country in a custom Gibson tour bus. Parnell went on to collaborate with Gibson on a signature model celebrating the ’57 Les Paul Goldtop in 2001. His relationship with Gibson and the Les Paul is not a new one, wherein Parnell’s first Goldtop was a 1956 model he bought when he was 15-years-old, and was his only guitar well into his 30’s. Although he experimented for a few years after that with different guitars, searching for his own sound, he ultimately returned to his first love, the 1956 Les Paul Goldtop in 2001, and helped Gibson reinvigorate the model. Talks then came about to develop a Lee Roy Parnell Signature Model and culminated with a final eight months of arduous development, producing Gibson’s Lee Roy Parnell Signature ’57 Les Paul Goldtop. You can read more information about the guitar at gibson.com.

The year 2011 brought Lee Roy Parnell what is probably his most cherished honor to date—an induction into the Texas Heritage Songwriter’s Hall of Fame where he joined the company of legendary singer/songwriters such as Kris Kristofferson, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Rodney Crowell, JD Souther, Roger Miller, Guy Clark, and others. Parnell continues to produce and write with some of the most influential songwriters and recording artists in the world as co-partner in his music publishing company, Dean Parnell Music, and is currently supporting his first independent release, Midnight Believer (released August 11, 2017 via Vector Recordings).
Janine Wilson & Max Evans
Janine Wilson & Max Evans
Janine Wilson’s name carries with it certain expectations. A big voice with a stage presence to match it. Award-winning songs full of love, heartache, and mischief. A command of vocal styles ranging from Blues and Americana to torch songs. And while those expecations will not go unfulfilled with her new album, don’t let the familiar face on the cover fool you.

It’s time to wake up to a very different Janine Wilson.

Her third album since releasing the debut The Blue Album in 2000, Wakin’ Up is Janine’s first album of all-original material. Building on the same partnership that delivered the award-winning songs “Don’t Even Start” and “So Long,” Janine teamed up with guitarist extraordinaire Max Evans (Ugly Americans) to write the songs that would eventually belong on Wakin’ Up.

The album opens with an award-winning track, “It Should Be Me,” and though this song appeared on Wilson’s 2005 album Save Me From Myself, the similarity ends there. Her voice now shares its usual outspokenness with a more open vulnerability, amplifying the natural sultriness of her delivery.

The opening guitar licks of “Just Kiss Her” make it apparent that this vulnerable side of Janine hasn’t softened her. The heartache and pain are palpable in her phrasing as she sings “Disappear,” a rock ballad reminiscent of Sheryl Crow, contrasting with the masked denial found in Evans’s “Not For Real.”

With the pseudo-title track “Wakin’ Up in Texas,” a new direction starts to appear with a pop-rock sensibility more akin to Chrissie Hynde. The sweetness of the acoustic guitar on “Only One In Love” evokes the loneliness of unrequited love while the pop-rock angle continues in “Kiss You At Hello,” a shamelessly hopeful song of love at first sight.

Janine sings about the urgent need for green living during today’s hard times in “The Grass Is Always Greener,” followed by an equally passionate plea to not waste an opportunity for love in “Rustin’ In the Rain.” Here Janine shares the vocal spotlight with Evans, leaving you wanting to hear more of this duo.

Wakin’ Up was recorded with Blake Morgan at the helm of Engine Company Records’ studio in NYC with top-flight musicians, and at Philadelphia’s Studio 4 with Grammy Award-winner Phil “Butcher Bros,” Nicolo. Together with Evans on guitar, Janine’s powerhouse vocals have never been in front of a more solid or sophisticated sound. So how should we feel wakin’ up to this new Janine Wilson? With a newfound confidence behind her eyes, she smiles and answers by quoting from the last track on the album,

Max Evans began performing in the late 1980’s as part of the roots rock band, The Thangs, based in Washington, DC. After moving to Austin, Texas, he joined the Ugly Americans and toured with The Allman Brothers and Sheryl Crow among others. Moving to New York City, Max continued to perform as a sideman and studio session player. Returning to Austin in 1999, Max formed his own group, DC9, and then a few years later returned to the DC area and began performing, writing and recording with Janine. Janine is super lucky!
Venue Information:
Pearl Street Warehouse
33 Pearl St SW
Washington, DC, 20024