Friday, August 6, 2010

Idol Tour Comes To Dallas

This time last year a struggling Fort Worth musician took the advice of his mom & drove 13 hours to audition for a shot at stardom. Denver Colorado held it's auditions for the Fox hit TV show American Idol. Just like thousands of other hopefuls, Casey James sang for an opportunity to earn a golden ticket to fight it out in the Hollywood rounds months later. That's just what happened when this small town guy began to show the judges & all of America what he could do.
Week after week James would advance to the next round as all of us locals cheered him on from our living rooms. Casey was not your run of the mill Idol contestant as he stayed true to his blues rock influences & didn't back down from that. Bringing something new to the show was just what Idol fans wanted as James jammed his way into the top 10. Making it this far meant he would be able to hit the road the following summer in the "Idols Live" tour.
Most of my FB friends status updates on Tuesday night would be Casey related. Many past & present Millsap alums were stoked about the possibility of our small town guy actually making it big in the music industry. The local ties now had folks who wouldn't normally watch Idol doing that & even calling/texting in votes. Toward the end of the season watch party's were in full swing as the big prize was in arms reach for James. The possibility of a hometown tour had the whole community buzzing & we all hoped us along with Casey's die hard fans could push him into the top 3. Having a few close calls, it was hard to tell if he could make.... but he did....
A fast & furious hometown visit was in the works & Millsap High had hours to put together a mini concert to congratulate their most famous graduate. I was curious to see how many would show up at Bulldog Stadium to see Casey & AI camera crews do their thing. This quickly orchestrated event brought fans from as far as Tennessee & Florida. This more than overwhelmed Idol finalist stepped out of his stretch limo to see the "standing room only" crowd cheering his entrance.
It was a blast to be able to cover this event for the community. For Casey's two day tour I was allowed to get great access & photograph many of his stops. After it was said & done I had hundreds of images & I wanted to share them with everyone. A few of us got together & created a page where we could post all the photos. Appropriately enough, we named the page "Casey James Homecoming". This was a good way for all the locals to enjoy & download the photos of themselves from the site. It wasn't long before the page was getting noticed & "liked" from Casey fans from all over the world. The international fans like getting an inside look from a hometown perspective. The administrators of the page also include Cousin Sara Poynter who added a personal touch to the page by uploading many of her own photos taken during the homecoming. Even though the page is named "homecoming" it was evident that the almost 3 thousand fans who have joined, look for updates & want to know what's new in Casey's career. We have collectively posted videos, articles & blogs that keep everyone informed on the latest . We didn't plan on this type of page, but it just sorta happened & we're glad to help out in any way we can by keeping his name out there.

What's next...
The AI tour has made it's way around North America & in true AI fashion they have crammed many tour dates into a few short months. Casey has been on a dead run since February when the show started. He will once again be performing in Texas this week but on another level. Going from 30+ people at Keys Lounge to thousands at the AAC. If you haven't purchased your AI concert tickets for this Monday night, then you can at
Photo courtesy of Danna Nicholson.
A group of us will be attending the show Monday & of course I'll have my camera in hand. You can find us in the nosebleed section but maybe with a 300mm zoom lens I will hopefully get a few images to add to the CJH page. We'll see... If not I will hopefully find some good images from fans who paid the big bucks for a front row seats.

Photo courtesy of Danna Nicholson.
Photo courtesy of LIFE

What about a record deal?
Soon after the shows finale, Casey met with record executives from Sony music. No final deal has been officially announced at this time but internet chatter is that something will be released later this week. Those things take lots of time & the longer the better so they can find the best material possible for his debut album. We just hope the higher ups will let Casey stay true to his sound & record music his way.

Through all of this craziness & my association with CJH site, I have met so many great people. Months after the show ended & the hype died down, Casey's fan base has continued to grow & are still some of the most dedicated out there. Who knows how things will work out with a major record label/touring on his own. American Idol has given this once struggling musician a shot to win over an industry of hits & misses. One things for sure, the fans he's gained along the way will be there whatever happens.

A few Casey related sites worth checking out:


  1. Love this article. Thank you for helping make all this possible for the fans. We are in it for life baby!!!!!

  2. Thanks for a nice retrospective and a hopeful look into the future. It's been a great ride so far. Not only has Casey found supportive and dedicated fans from literally around the globe, but, as you said, he has acted as a catalyst to bring so many terrific people together who never would have otherwise met. Fingers crossed that the Dallas homecoming will be the big day we all hope it will be.

  3. Jake as a Casey fan I'll never forget finding black gold with your hometown blog features on Casey.
    Passed it all along on a (Taylor Hicks) fan site where we have 1500 posts related to Casey & his music; since his life changing Hollywood round.
    So, first of all, thank you. You continue to promote Casey in a positive, music related effort and I for one, am grateful.
    It's so exciting to know Casey is home. Haven't been this excited for him to go home since we voted hard, fast, and strong enough to get him a top 3 hero's hometown welcome.

    For all you continue to do to promote Casey in a professional way, I applaud you. This journey is an exciting one, and you TX peeps are some of the nicest people ever. I can't wait until yall see first hand how Casey finally is able to show America on this Idol tour how truly talented and just as importantly kind, and caring he really is. He's kind of amazing in my opinion.

    I've always been that fan who knew, but it sure gave me great pleasure to see others on the Casey train, as they left my show in MD.

  4. Thank you both for your kind words.....friends. Y'all have done so much for keeping the fans up on the latest. Shari, your in depth articles with the his family are amazing. Keep up the great work!

  5. From Cyndee: Come to MN the end of the month, Jake, and you can have my row 7 tickets. :-) It ain't gonna matter what camera I use, I could never take pictures like yours! They're the best!

  6. Thank you Jake for your enlightening articles and fantastic photos of Casey! It's wonderful to be able to keep up with his career.

  7. I really enjoyed reading this, Jake. It brought back some wonderful memories I have of the homecoming. I love the welcome I have received from many of the hometown people who have known Casey for a long time. I have made some true friendships through being a CJ fan. I look forward to watching Casey move on and upward. I'll be there all the way. No way would I ever get off the Casey James Train!

  8. I could never thank you enough for bringing Casey closer to us fans who could only experience him through meeting others and who could only see him through other people's eyes.

    Thank you very much.

  9. From Detroit, MichiganAugust 19, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Unlike many amateur photos, I really appreciate your very professional photos of CJH. I love all your artistic, beautiful, awesome images through your lenses. Because of your genuinely loving heart toward Casey, all your photos delivers more depth and illuminations. I enjoys your article as much as your beautiful photos. Thank you!


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