No Depression may have said it best when they called Lee Roy Parnell, "…a fine writer blessed with a rich, soulful vocal delivery and a blistering array of guitar chops drawn almost equally from Texas blues, Memphis soul, and Southern rock traditions."
After honing his skills over more than a decade of playing clubs in Austin, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and New York, Parnell laid a new foundation in Nashville. Upon earning a regular spot at the famed Bluebird Café and a publishing contract, Parnell launched his solo career on Arista Records, which produced many country hits including "A Little Bit Of You" (#1 hit); "What Kind of Fools Do You Think I Am" & "Tender Moment" (both #2 hits), and four other Top 10 hits: "Love Without Mercy", "On The Road", "I'm Holding My Own", and "Heart's Desire". Parnell also scored Top 15 hits on a moving collaboration with Trisha Yearwood-“When A Woman Loves A Man”-and “Givin’ Water To A Drowning Man”. Parnell has earned two GRAMMY Award nominations for his instrumental tracks “Cat Walk” (with Flaco Jiménez) and “Mama, Screw Your Wig On Tight" and was nominated for the CMA Vocal Event of the Year on "John the Revelator" (with The Fairfield Four).
Parnell has received widespread acclaim as a guitar slinger. Gibson honored him with the creation and production of the Lee Roy Parnell Signature ’57 Les Paul Goldtop guitar, modeled after the only guitar Parnell owned from the time he was 15 years old until he was well into his 30’s. In 2019, Gibson and Parnell collaborated once again on the Lee Roy Parnell Signature 1959 Les Paul Standard.
During his storied career, Parnell has toured/collaborated with many music legends including The Allman Brothers Band, Merle Haggard, Delbert McClinton, and Bonnie Raitt. In 2011, Parnell was presented with his most cherished honor: being inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, joining the likes of such talented composers as Kris Kristofferson, Rodney Crowell, JD Souther, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Mac Davis, and many other legendary singer/songwriters.
In addition to solo tour dates, Parnell has been performing frequently at the Grand Ole Opry. He has also toured over the past several years with fellow world-class guitarists as Guitar Army - first with Robben Ford and Joe Robinson and in a second lineup with John Jorgenson and Robinson. In 2018, Parnell was among the all-star list of guitar players invited to join legendary guitarist Steve Vai in Hollywood for Vai’s remarkable 53 1/2-consecutive-hour Big Mama-Jama Jamathon to benefit Extraordinary Families, a leading nonprofit foster family, adoption, and advocacy agency dedicated to improving the daily lives and long-term outcomes of children and youth in foster care. Parnell and Vai jammed on several songs together during the event. Other artists on the bill included Dweezil Zappa, Dave Navarro, Orianthi, Al Di Meola, Lee Ritenour, Steve Morse, Moby, and hundreds more.
"Worry B Gone", a song Parnell co-wrote with the legendary Guy Clark and GRAMMY-winning Gary Nicholson, is featured on country superstar singer/songwriter Chris Stapleton's latest universally acclaimed album release, Starting Over (released on November 13, 2020). The song has received critical acclaim in several Starting Over album reviews. The song was first released by Guy Clark in 2006, before being recorded by Willie Nelson and Kenny Chesney (2008), Whitey Johnson (2008), Hayes Carll (2011) and Stapleton.
In May 2021 at the Grand Re-Opening of The Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas, Mitch Ballard of BMI Austin presented Parnell with a Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) 4 Million AirPlay Certificate for the song "That's My Story", written by Parnell and Tony Haselden. The song was a big hit for fellow Texan, Collin Raye. Listening to the song 4 million times consecutively would take a person 24 years!
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