GRAMMY-nominated Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame Member Lee Roy Parnell is reuniting with his original band, The Hot Links, at the Franklin Theatre on November 20 at 8 p.m. to revisit the band’s rich history, hit recordings and of course their legendary live performances, which are still talked about to this day. This one-night-only reunion concert will showcase Parnell’s world-class slide guitar chops and soulful vocal delivery with The Hot Links’ rollicking musicianship. Tickets for the 25th Anniversary Bash can be purchased at www.franklintheatre.com.
Parnell, whose hits include “On The Road,” “Love Without Mercy,” “I’m Holding My Own,” “Tender Moment” and “What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am,” has a deep-rooted friendship and collaborative history with The Hot Links: Steve Mackey (bass), Kevin McKendree (keys), James Pennebaker (guitar, mandolin, fiddle & steel guitar) and Lynn Williams (drums).
Parnell made great progressions within the country music industry as he was one of the first in the ’90s to use his live band in the studio rather than studio musicians who were frequenters on Music Row. The result: Parnell and The Hot Links firing on all musical cylinders as can be experienced on Parnell’s country chart hits such as “Heart’s Desire” and “A Little Bit Of You” and his highly acclaimed classic albums, We All Get Lucky Sometimes and Every Night’s A Saturday Night. The Orlando Sentinel, in a vintage Lucky review, called Parnell a “fiery slide guitar player and, like Vince Gill, has a reputation as a musician’s musician” and The Hot Links a “hard-driving, versatile band.”
“I always liked artists or bands that sounded unique,” Parnell explains. “My motto was ‘if I sound like everybody else, then what’s the point?’ When it came to recordings, I always felt like the records should sound like the band live on the bandstand and vice versa, so I started putting my dream band together long before I came to Nashville.
“I’ve known James Pennebaker since we were 17 years old. The first time I heard James play (with our friend and mentor, Delbert McClinton) I knew that when the time came for me to put my band together, Brother James was my guy. The same can be said for Brother Lynn Williams on drums and Brother Steve Mackey on bass. I knew they belonged in this band long before I could hire them. Brother Reese Wynans, who had played with me in Austin and was with me again for a time after I had moved to Nashville, ultimately decided to stay home in favor of playing sessions. Blood brother, Rob Roy Parnell, and his harmonica had the gig with me since he was 12 years old, so he was on board. Then came our final member, Kevin McKendree, who was the perfect addition on keyboards, and that was the final and definitive Hot Link roster,” says Parnell.
A tradition has been established over the last several years, with Parnell playing The Franklin Theatre each fall, many times in a “Lee Roy Parnell & Friends” format with special guests, but this will be the first time Parnell and The Hot Links, along with special guest and honorary band member Rob Roy Parnell, have performed together at one of these unique shows.
“The Franklin Theatre is — and always has been — my baby,” says Parnell, adding, “we love the staff and the vibe at ‘The Franklin.’ The production is top notch! We all live within 30 minutes from there, and it’s always one of the last shows of the year. This show is always a homecoming! That goes for our friends and fans, too.”
When Lee Roy Parnell and The Hot Links once again join forces on Nov. 20 at The Franklin Theatre, the reunion has all the makings of becoming a truly legendary evening of music.
“We are going to throw down and have a whole lot of fun,” says Parnell. “This will be a special night.”
About Lee Roy Parnell
No Depression may have said it best when they called Texas native 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.” An ace guitarist, distinctive singer, and hit songwriter, his music runs the gamut of diversity. Combining the influences of Blue-Eyed Soul, Delta Blues, Road House Rock, Southern Boogie, Texas Swing, Country and Gospel, Parnell’s sound defies conventional classification. After honing his skills in Austin, Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth and New York, he launched his music career in Nashville after signing with the Arista Nashville record label in 1987 and struck gold with a string of No. 1 and Top 10 hits such as “What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am,” “Tender Moment,” “A Little Bit Of You,” and “On The Road.” Heralded as being an industry leader with his songwriting skills that changed country music, 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. In 2019, Gibson and Parnell worked together once again on the Lee Roy Parnell Signature 1959 Les Paul Standard. Parnell has collaborated with music legends such as 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. In 2017, Parnell released the acclaimed self-produced Stax- and Muscle Shoals-inspired album, Midnight Believer. Continuing to stretch boundaries, Parnell has joined forces in recent years with guitar virtuosos Steve Vai, John Jorgenson and Joe Robinson for once-in-a-lifetime live performance collaborations. Parnell is a co-writer (with Guy Clark and Gary Nicholson) of “Worry B Gone” from Chris Stapleton’s current critically acclaimed album, Starting Over. Keep up with Parnell on his website at leeroyparnell.com.
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