Lee Roy Parnell

Tell the Truth (Vanguard)

Record Reviews

Lee Roy Parnell

Tell the Truth (Vanguard)

Lee Roy Parnell always had country in him -- he is a Texas boy, after all -- yet never seemed to fit into Nashville's pretty-boy mold while he recorded for labels there. He saw some degree of success, yet his style always leaned toward blue-eyed soul topped off with distinctive slide guitar, characteristics that never really fit into the flaccid pop passing for country these days. Tell the Truth is Parnell's first disc for Vanguard, a non-Music City label, and finds him seemingly revitalized, playing the music he wants to play, the way he wants to, and obviously enjoying himself. He's teamed up with such stellar songwriting partners as Dan Penn, Gary Nicholson, and Tony Arata for a set of tunes that's nearly perfect for his soulful vocals. The album's highlights are duets with Parnell's like-minded musical buddies; "Breaking Down Slow," with Bonnie Bramlett, is a smoldering number that builds from a subdued start to a fiery conclusion. Old pal Delbert McClinton, meanwhile, joins Parnell for "South by Southwest," a rollicking bit of Texas funk, and Keb' Mo' adds fine guitarplay to the acoustic-based "I Declare," a nice break from the album's generally electric setting. Nothing groundbreaking here, just a good ol' gumbo of country, blues, gospel, and soul played with heart and verve. Ain't nothing wrong with that.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

Texas Platters
The Beaumonts / Hickoids
This Is Austin, All the World's a Dressing Room (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle