After American Idol

Casey James cuts loose on new, bluesier album

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Casey James, the third-place finisher on American Idol Season 9, has a new album out called "Strip It Down."

Casey James, the third-place finisher on American Idol Season 9, has a new album out called “Strip It Down.”

Former American Idol standout Casey James released his sophomore album Friday.

And anyone expecting a repeat of his self-titled album from 2012 is in for a surprise.

No longer de-fanged by the need to make a commercial country record, Casey cuts loose on a bluesier, much more rocking 14 song set.

The result is a more individual sound. And lots of high-energy songs you shouldn’t miss, including “Makin’ Up,” “Got to Go,” “Supernatural” and “Strip it Down,” the album’s title track.

The there’s “Killin’ Myself,” my personal favorite, about a guy who’s killing himself pursuing something he doesn’t need and has decided to “make my own rules this time around.”

Hmm, sounds like Casey might just be singing about his own music.

Fans helped make the new album possible, contributing more than twice the $30,000 Casey was hoping to raise in a Kickstarter campaign he launched in November.

In the video that accompanied the campaign, Casey says he felt blessed to be signed by Sony Music after finishing third on Season 9 of American Idol and can’t complain about his time with the label.

After all, that 2012 “Casey James” album debuted at number two on the Billboard Country Albums chart and yielded a pair of Top 25 singles. He also wound up touring with superstar Taylor Swift.

At the same time, it’s pretty apparent Casey, now 35, enjoyed no longer making music under label constraints.

After all, that same Kickstarter campaign starts with “Bye, bye, Sony Music, hello FREEDOM.”

And in his website bio, Casey says this about the new album, recorded in just four days with the help of producer Tom Hambridge.

“Stripping it back to just me making a record of music that I love was a huge stepping stone in my life,” he says.

“This record was a healing thing for me because this is who I am. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

You can keep up with Casey through his Facebook page and website. He’s got lots of tour dates coming up. On Twitter, he’s simply @caseyjames.

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