"The very first memory that I've got of music is listening to a Ricky Skaggs album at my Nana and Papaw's house," Casey recalls. "'Walking In Jerusalem' has this guitar intro, and then the drums and bass come in. I remember moving a chair over in front of the speakers, just sitting there and listening, and as soon as all the instruments came in, I would start the song over."
He laughs at the thought of himself as a toddler, climbing that chair to move the needle on the record over and over again. "My Nana actually came and made me stop because she was tired of hearing it," he says. It was 1986, and 4-year-old Casey had found his calling.
As a teen, Casey wasn't just soundtracking the struggles of adolescent life through his headphones – he was building a lasting relationship with the art of playing guitar. "I've sang my whole life, but I feel a lot closer to the guitar, because I had to really work at it as a craft," says Casey. "Once I learned to play, I fell in love with the ability to make music, to put my fingers on the strings and make a beautiful song."
Casey's wide-ranging influences include Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, ZZ Top and Bonnie Raitt, with a mix of '70s rock, blues, and outlaw country all helping to shape his style. Following his success on Idol, Casey released his self-titled debut album, containing his first single, "Let's Don't Call It A Night," and the follow-up hit "Crying On A Suitcase."
On January 27, 2012, Casey made his Grand Ole Opry debut. He was introduced by Bill Anderson. "I'm trying not to shake," said Casey onstage. "This is a big moment for me. This is a dream come true."
Even with the early success he's already had, Casey is in it for the long haul.
"Someone once asked me, 'What's your advice on how to get famous?'" he says, laughing at the memory. "If you want to be famous, you're asking the wrong person. Being famous means nothing to me. It doesn't do me any good. What does mean something is doing what I love to do. I'm always gonna play music, whether that's for ten people in a smoky bar, millions of viewers on American Idol, or 50,000 people in a stadium someday, if I'm ever that lucky."
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