Whereas most albums recorded by "American Idol" alumni are rushed through production in order to strike while the "Idol" iron is hot, Casey James has taken his time with his upcoming CD.
In fact, the guy who came in third on Season 9 has rarely even been seen since the 2010 "Idol" summer tour ended.
Now, suddenly, he has a hit single on the radio and an album coming out early next year. Last month CMT Network named him country's "next big thing."
It's the payoff the 29-year-old singer has been working toward over the last 12 months.
"I haven't taken a day off," James said in a telephone interview. "I've been working literally every single day on my music."
On Nov. 16, the singer will be in Chattanooga to play a High Noon Saloon show at Chattanooga Billiard Club East. The monthly showcase for rising stars is sponsored by WUSY US101 Radio.
"Casey is such a nice guy. We're excited about having him here," said Brian Stewart, promotions director for ClearChannel Chattanooga.
"We've done this (High Noon Saloon concerts) for 15 years, but we've had people from all over the country wanting to come to this one. People in his fan clubs asking for tickets," he said.
James' show sold out three weeks ago. But Stewart said there are still a few tickets available.
"Starting Thursday, during our mid-day show, which is called the High Noon Saloon, there will be tickets given away. We'll give tickets away during the noon hour through Nov. 15," he said.
"It will just be me and a guitar singin' and playin'," James said of his local show. "They can look forward to some rockin' bluesy country music."
James, 29, said he moved to Nashville from his home in Texas immediately following the conclusion of the Season 9 summer tour. Since then, he has been building a name for himself in the country industry, laying the groundwork for his debut CD.
He opened for several of Sugarland's Incredible Machine concerts last spring. He played the Academy of Country Music Awards' fan party.
Between shows, he has criss-crossed America, visiting country radio stations from San Jose, Calif., to Virginia Beach, Va., to get his name out. He's even been mentored by a country legend: Randy Owen of Alabama.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...