Lee Roy Parnell (born December 21, 1956) is an American country music and blues artist, singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Active since 1990, he has recorded nine studio albums, and has charted more than twenty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts. His highest-charting hits are "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am" (1992), "Tender Moment" (1993), and "A Little Bit of You" (1995), all of which peaked at No. 2. Four more of his singles have charted in the Top Ten as well. Parnell made a shift in the early 2000s back to the bluesier sounds of his early works, releasing two blues albums on Vanguard Records and Universal South. Besides his own work, Parnell has played slide guitar and National guitar on several other country and blues recordings. "Midnight Believer" was named among the Top 10 Blues albums of 2018. In January 2019, Gibson issued Parnell's signature guitar, "Abilene Sunset." Parnell appeared on HGTV's Property Brothers: Buying and Selling."

Lee Roy Parnell
Lee Roy Parnell.jpg
Parnell at the Texas Songwriter's Hall of Fame 2011
Background information
Born (1956-12-21) December 21, 1956 (age 63)[1]
OriginStephenville, Texas, United States
GenresBlues, Roots, Country
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, Guitarist
InstrumentsVocals, electric guitar, slide guitar, National guitar
Years active1990–present
LabelsArista Nashville, Career, Vanguard, Universal South, Vector Records
Associated actsRonnie Dunn, Delbert McClinton

Early yearsEdit

Parnell was born in Abilene, Texas, but raised in Stephenville, Texas.[2] His father had performed with Bob Wills, and Parnell gave his first performance at age six on Wills's radio show.[1] Parnell played guitar and drums in various bands during his teenage years.[1] He moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1987 and he signed with the Arista Nashville recording company two years later.[2]


Lee Roy ParnellEdit

Parnell released his self-titled debut album for Arista Records in 1990.[3] This album produced three chart singles in "Crocodile Tears", "Oughta Be a Law" and "Family Tree", none of which charted in the Top 40 on the Billboard country charts. A video for "Mexican Money" was created and released, but the song was not released to radio.

Love Without MercyEdit

Following this album was his breakthrough release, 1992's Love Without Mercy. Although its lead-off single "The Rock" also fell short of Top 40, its next three singles all reached Top Ten:[1] "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am" at No. 2, the title track at No. 8, and finally "Tender Moment" also at No. 2. These three songs were all Top Ten hits on the RPM charts in Canada.

On the RoadEdit

1993's On the Road, his third album and final release for Arista proper also produced two top-10 hits: the title track and "I'm Holding My Own", at No. 6 and No. 3 respectively. The album also contained a No. 17-peaking rendition of the Hank Williams song "Take These Chains from My Heart", which Parnell recorded as a duet with Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn, although Dunn was not credited on the charts. The final single from On the Road, "The Power of Love", peaked at No. 51.

We All Get Lucky SometimesEdit

His fourth album, 1995's We All Get Lucky Sometimes, was also his first for Career Records, then a newly formed subsidiary of Arista Nashville. This album's lead-off single "A Little Bit of You" was the third single of his career to reach No. 2. Following it were the No. 12 "When a Woman Loves a Man" (featuring background vocals from Trisha Yearwood), the No. 3 "Heart's Desire" and another No. 12 in "Giving Water to a Drowning Man". The album's title track, which was its fifth single, peaked at No. 46.

Every Night's a Saturday Night and Hits and Highways AheadEdit

Every Night's a Saturday Night was his final release for Career Records. This was his first album since his debut release that did not produce a Top Ten hit, and only three singles were released from it: "Lucky Me, Lucky You" at No. 35, "You Can't Get There From Here" at No. 39 (his final Top 40 hit), and "All That Matters Anymore" at No. 50. After Career Records was merged back into Arista Nashville, Parnell released his final album for the Arista label, 1999's Hits and Highways Ahead. This album's only single, "She Won't Be Lonely Long", peaked at No. 57, and by the year's end, he exited Arista's roster.

Tell the Truth and Back to the WellEdit

Parnell signed to Vanguard Records in 2000,[3] releasing the album Tell the Truth that year. This album's only single, "South by Southwest", failed to chart, and he soon left the label as well. His next album, Back to the Well, came in 2006 on Universal South Records, although it also produced only one non-charting single in "Daddies and Daughters."

External contributionsEdit

Besides playing slide guitar and National guitar on his albums and co-writing several of his own songs, Parnell has co-written two Top 40 country hits for other artists: "Too Much" by Pirates of the Mississippi and "That's My Story" by Collin Raye, from 1992 and 1993 respectively. In 1994, he and Steve Wariner collaborated with Diamond Rio on a cover of Merle Haggard's "Workin' Man's Blues", credited to Jed Zeppelin and recorded for a tribute album Mama's Hungry Eyes: A Tribute to Merle Haggard. This rendition peaked at No. 48 on the country charts. He played slide guitar on Mary Chapin Carpenter's late-1994 Number One hit "Shut Up and Kiss Me", and appeared in the song's music video. He added slide guitar to Delbert McClinton's "Sending Me Angels in 1997, and in late 2004, he was credited for playing slide guitar on David Lee Murphy's No. 46-peaking single "Inspiration", from the album Tryin' to Get There.

Parnell has a line of guitars with Gibson Guitar and is widely acknowledged as a premier electric slide guitar player.



Title Album details Peak positions
US Country
US Heat
US Blues
CAN Country
Lee Roy Parnell
Love Without Mercy
  • Release date: April 28, 1992
  • Label: Arista Nashville
  • Formats: CD, cassette, download
66 24
On the Road
  • Release date: October 26, 1993
  • Label: Arista Nashville
  • Formats: CD, cassette, download
59 23 17
We All Get Lucky Sometimes
  • Release date: August 1, 1995
  • Label: Career Records
  • Formats: CD, cassette, download
26 173 10
Every Night's a Saturday Night
  • Release date: June 17, 1997
  • Label: Career Records
  • Formats: CD, cassette, download
53 41
Hits and Highways Ahead
  • Release date: August 24, 1999
  • Label: Arista Nashville
  • Formats: CD, cassette, download
Tell the Truth
Back to the Well 10
Midnight Believer
  • Release date: August 11, 2017
  • Label: Vector Records
  • Formats: CD, download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country
CAN Country
1990 "Crocodile Tears" 59 90 Lee Roy Parnell
"Oughta Be a Law" 54
"Family Tree" 73
1992 "The Rock" 50 47 Love Without Mercy
"What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am" 2 3
"Love Without Mercy" 8 10
1993 "Tender Moment" 2 10
"On the Road" 6 12 On the Road
1994 "I'm Holding My Own" 3 2
"Take These Chains from My Heart"
(featuring Ronnie Dunn; uncredited)
17 21
"The Power of Love" 51 64
1995 "A Little Bit of You" 2 2 We All Get Lucky Sometimes
"When a Woman Loves a Man" 12 20
1996 "Heart's Desire" 3 3
"Givin' Water to a Drowning Man" 12 10
"We All Get Lucky Sometimes" 46 83
1997 "Lucky Me, Lucky You" 35 57 Every Night's a Saturday Night
"You Can't Get There from Here" 39
1998 "All That Matters Anymore" 50 95
1999 "She Won't Be Lonely Long" 57 61 Hits & Highways Ahead
2001 "South by Southwest" Tell the Truth
2006 "Daddies and Daughters" Back to the Well
2017 "Tied Up and Tangled" Midnight Believer
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

As a featured artistEdit

Year Single Artist Peak positions Album
US Country
1994 "Workin' Man Blues" Jed Zeppelin[A] 48 Mama's Hungry Eyes: A Tribute to Merle Haggard
2004 "Inspiration" David Lee Murphy 46 Tryin' to Get There

Other charted songsEdit

Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country
1997 "Please Come Home for Christmas" 71 Star of Wonder: A Country Christmas Collection

Music videosEdit

Year Video Director
1990 "Oughta Be a Law" Marius Penczner
"Family Tree"
1991 "Mexican Money" Dean Lent
1992 "The Rock" Steven Goldmann
"Love Without Mercy" John Lloyd Miller
1993 "Tender Moment" Michael Merriman
"On the Road" Michael Oblowitz
"I'm Holding My Own"
1994 "Workin' Man Blues" (Jed Zeppelin)[A] Deaton Flanigen
1995 "A Little Bit of You" Jim Yukich
"When a Woman Loves a Man"
(featuring Trisha Yearwood)
Steven Goldmann
1996 "Catwalk" (featuring Flaco Jiménez)
1997 "Lucky Me, Lucky You" Michael McNamara
1998 "All That Matters Anymore"[11] Brian McNamara/Lee Roy Parnell
(featuring Ray Benson and Charlie Daniels)
Peter Zavadil
1999 "She Won't Be Lonely Long"
2006 "Just Lucky That Way" Milton Sneed
"Saving Grace"



  1. ^ a b c d Huey, Steve. "Lee Roy Parnell biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b Stambler, Irwin; Landon, Grelun (July 14, 2000). Country Music: The Encyclopedia. Macmillan. pp. 359–360.
  3. ^ a b Rusty Russell. "Lee Roy Parnell: A Nashville hitmaker breaks out. " Guitar Player 1 Dec. 2001: General Interest Module, ProQuest. Web. 14 Jul. 2009.
  4. ^ "Lee Roy Parnell - Top Country Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  5. ^ "Lee Roy Parnell - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  6. ^ "Lee Roy Parnell - Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "Lee Roy Parnell - Blues Albums". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "Lee Roy Parnell - Country Albums/CDs". RPM. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c "Lee Roy Parnell - Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "Lee Roy Parnell - Country Singles". RPM. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "CMT : Videos : Lee Roy Parnell : All That Matters Anymore". Country Music Television. Retrieved October 14, 2011.

External linksEdit