OFFSTAGE: CMT Listen Up: Casey James

Get to Know This Rising Texas Guitar God

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Casey James was raised in Texas in a community called Cool. And that pretty much tells his entire story right there. He is cool. To the core. You can see so in the latest CMT Listen Up performance he did a few weeks ago at the 12th & Porter club in Nashville. James’ bluesy-country songs and soulful voice are the same as they were when he made it to the top three on American Idol two years ago when Lee DeWyze won. (After doing Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” while playing the mandolin, I was so sure James was going to win.) This self-described simple man who loves music, family, Jesus Christ, friends and his dogs looks like he is mesmerizing the crowd with his voice. You can see him on three of his best tunes — “Crying On a Suitcase,” “Drive” and “Love the Way You Miss Me” — on this CMT Listen Up show. “My intention is to try and do kind of like a grassroots thing where I just go and play at every single place I could play — whether that’s opening up for somebody great that I love to listen to … or whether that be a place that seats 100 people and serves some mean barbecue,” James told CMT Radio. “It doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m getting to play my music and sharing that with a crowd.” To see James’ grassroots thing live, watch his tour calendar to see when he is bringing his sexy kind of country to a fair, fest or honky-tonk near you.