“I’m Holding My Own”
Lee Roy Parnell
Written by Tony Arata
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
April 8, 1994
Lee Roy Parnell’s best single goes the distance.
The Road to No. 1
Lee Roy Parnell earned his first No. 1 hit with the cleanup single from his breakthrough album, Love Without Mercy. After “Tender Moment” topped the chart, Parnell previewed his third studio set, On the Road, with the top ten title track. He then returned to the top with his very best single.
The No. 1
Tony Arata is such an incredible songwriter that a masterpiece like “The Dance” still only ranks third among my favorite No. 1 singles from him in the nineties.
Lee Roy Parnell never recorded a better song than “I’m Holding My Own,” and I don’t think another artist could’ve done it quite as well as him. He’s masterful at playing with the tense emotions on display here, as he keeps things chill on the surface with his old lover, as he seethes with anger directly underneath.
Parnell’s slide guitar allows him to let some of that anger loose, all while singing with enough restraint to keep from giving the game away. He makes his point while maintaining his dignity, playing along with the cloying sympathy being expressed by his former flame, and coolly rejecting her stunning attempt to rekindle the affair as soon as her current beau is out of earshot.
And it’s still not the best Tony Arata No. 1 hit. We’ll get to that one in 1995.
The Road From No. 1
Parnell teamed up with Ronnie Dunn on a cover of the Hank Williams standard “Take These Chains From My Heart,” which went top twenty. The final single from On the Road was “The Power of Love,” which fell short of the top forty. Parnell then launched his fourth album, We All Get Lucky Sometimes. Its lead single became his third No. 1 hit. We’ll also get to that one in 1995.
“I’m Holding My Own” gets an A.
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