In the open, fertile Austin music scene, genre melding is expected and encouraged. Lee Roy Parnell got his start playing guitar and singing in the competitive Austin, Tex., blues scene, with a combination of blues, Western Swing and country. Sensing he had exhausted all that Austin had to offer, Parnell took his act to Nashville in a bid for the brass ring. He initially scored as a songwriter for others. After landing his own deal, his Roots-based Country Rock turned out to be an easy sell, and Parnell enjoyed hit singles and albums with a canny, slide guitar-driven New Country sound that showed him to be akin to a male, country version of Bonnie Raitt. One of the better artists to emerge from the Nashville hit factory of the 1990s, Parnell is a member of a select club of artists (including Vince Gill and Steve Wariner) who play guitar on their own records, and his slide playing evokes Duane Allman and Ry Cooder. He is a singer of great range, and he has a deep understanding of American music, from Bob Wills to Marvin Gaye.