Lee Roy Parnell
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.