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Lee Roy Parnell Brings It Home For the Holidays

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Lee Roy Parnell (LRP) performed to a packed house at the Franklin Theater in Franklin Tennessee on Saturday, November 18, 2023 in what was the eleventh edition of his highly anticipated holiday hometown show.


Lee Roy Parnell takes the stage at the Franklin Theater for his 11th annual holiday concert.

Lee Roy is a GRAMMY Award nominated musician and an acclaimed guitarist, singer and songwriter who has been active since 1990. During that decade Parnell hit the country charts more than twenty times. Yet, in the early 2000s, he shifted to a more bluesier sound. LRP is well-respected for his six-string skills and has partnered with Gibson to craft signature guitars that bear his name. Lee Roy was born in Texas then moved to Nashville, Tennessee in the late 1980s which is why the show in Franklin was considered a hometown gig.

"Hello everybody, thank you for coming to see us," greeted Parnell as he and his talented team took the stage. They opened with the up-tempo "On The Road". The horn section added punch to the snappy song that was also punctuated by LRP's sizzling slide guitar. "You guys will remember this," declared Parnell as they presented a lively "When You Least Expect It" that flowed into the soulful "Love Without Mercy".

You would think that being in familiar territory and the comfortable confines of a friendly venue would make for a flawless performance environment but this wasn't the case as LRP was clearly agitated repeatedly battling his inner ear monitors, his guitar strap and the sound on stage early in the show.

"I think my bio-rhythms are off," the sharply attired performer said from stage although the nearly sold-out audience didn't seem to notice one bit as the show rolled on with many musical high points yet to come.

Parnell gave a shout out to his family while inviting his brother out to play harmonica on a number of tunes. "Too Far Gone" was another memorable moment as was "Lucky Me, Lucky You". Lee Roy talked about working with Guy Clark. Together they wrote "Worry B Gone" which was cut by quite a few famous people. But, as LRP declared it did not take really take off until Chris Stapleton covered it. "Milk Cow Blues" (Bob Wills) featured feisty jamming from the collective.

Throughout the show, LRP repeatedly thanked his borrowed stage hand for the night - on loan from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - saying he made a deal with Jeff Hanna to cut his lawn three times in the spring in return for the favor and we didn't think he was kidding.

As the two-hour long gig neared a close LRP said he was finally "feeling like himself" before apologizing for ending the show saying that where he came from he always feels like he is ripping off his fans if he doesn't play for at least four hours.

"Heart's Desire" was a rousing set closer and hit with the crowd. The encore included an acoustic request segment featuring the moving "Daddies and Daughters". The finale steered us toward the approaching season with the timely "Please Come Home For Christmas" before the band returned for one last rocking number to put an exclamation point on the night.

The LRP concert at the Franklin Theater has been an annual event for about a decade. However, LRP also has a new record to tour behind. Midnight Believer encompasses a realized vision that reflects the cumulative essence of who Lee Roy Parnell is today. He states, "One of the best things about gaining some maturity is you finally find out 'Who You Is and Who You Ain't.' That said, I'd have to say that the song 'Too Far Gone' best describes me as an artist, now. It's clearly a Blue-Eyed Soul 'Beat Ballad' as Barry Beckett (of The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and my first producer) would call it. Barry really taught me how to make records. He taught me about groove, soul, vocal delivery and how to make every note count!" Also, of note was "Sunny Days" an insightful song of survival that was played in Franklin on the 18th.

LRP delighted the locals with a career spanning set. The Franklin Theater is situated in the heart of historic downtown Franklin. This venue continues to support music in the community with a wide range of concerts and programs from artists such as Lee Roy Parnell. The Franklin Theater's upcoming calendar includes more live performances and movies.


Lee Roy Parnell Brings It Home For the Holidays in Franklin.

Related Links: For more information on LEE ROY PARNELL and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Lee Roy Parnell | Franklin Theatre


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