LIS­TEN­ING

The Washington Times Daily - - Life -

roll, and Mr. James’ gui­tar so­los are pushed to the back­ground, where they were never meant to be.

The prob­lem isn’t the per­former. He sings well, and songs such as “The Good Life” and “Drive” are fine, sturdy coun­try-pop num­bers about liv­ing life the right way. Mr. James writes most of the songs, too, proof he was al­ways an artist on a show de­signed for mere singers.

The prob­lem, then, is the pack­ag­ing. Mr. James is be­ing re­branded as a con­tem­po­rary coun­try artist, a role he never played dur­ing his time on “Amer­i­can Idol,” and you can’t help but won­der if “Casey James” is the prod­uct of a ma­jor la­bel try­ing to com­mer­cial­ize a guy whose mu­sic might have been too bluesy, too gui­tar-based for a main­stream mar­ket. He de­serves bet­ter, and so do we.

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