Casey James was overjoyed when his first album finally dropped on March 17. He heralded it wit a simple Twitter posting: "Alright I'm out!" He hasn't tweeted what he thinks about his Billboard 200 bow in, but he's certain to be excited.
Casey James, his self-titled first release, landed at No. 23 on the weekly albums chart.
The 11-song offering was produced by James and Chris Lindsey, a name that is familiar to "American Idol" fans via work with his wife, Aimee Mayo. She and, in some cases, Chris, penned songs ("Red High Heels," "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You") for Season 5 finalist Kellie Pickler. Mayo also co-wrote "Wheel of the World," which appeared on Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood's Carnival Ride. Both Mayo and Lindsey co-wrote the last track on the album, "Miss Your Fire," with James, who co-wrote nine of the 11 tracks.
The album sold 14,000 copies its first week of release.
It also debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.
His strong debut is most likely due to his busy touring schedule and his continuing presence on Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40 countdown for over half a year. His song "Let's Don't Call It A Night" was released in August and currently sits at No. 24 (for the week ending March 24).
And it probably does not hurt that he has taken his love of the blues and melded it with country, a category that is known for its fan loyalty.
He played the CMA Music Festival, one of country music's biggest fan-dominated events, in June.
He made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry in January.
Compared to his Season 9 "American Idol" colleagues, James, who finished third, placed rather well on the Billboard chart -- even after two years. Still, Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze released Live It Up nearly six months after winning "American Idol" and still only debuted at No. 19 (although it did sell 39,000 copies its first week), setting "American Idol" records for least selling debut album for a winner and lowest bowing album by a winner. Crystal Bowersox, the runner-up, released her first album, Farmer's Daughter, almost a month later. It debuted at No. 28 (but sold 58,000 copies). She has gone on to sell nearly 50,000 more albums than DeWyze to date.
Even with James' addition, Season 9 remains a low point in sales for "American Idol" alums.
Casey James undoubtedly has plans to change all that. But it might take awhile. Of course, that would seem to fit right into his style.
(photo credit: Dr.finkelstein09, Creative Commons)