With the release of their debut album FEELS LIKE CAROLINA in December, a recent #1 hit with “Carolina”, and nomination for the ACM Awards’ new artist of the year category, it appears that the future is a bright one for country rockers Parmalee comprised of Josh McSwain (longtime friend), Barry Knox (cousin), Matt and Scott Thomas (brothers).
The band originally formed in 2001 when all the guys were attending East Carolina University and got their name from a tiny town they rehearsed in called Parmele, NC at a barn they named Studio B after its original builder Mark Bryant. They just modified the spelling slightly to make it easier for those not from around that area to pronounce. They gained quite a devout following in their area, but knew to make their dreams come true that they would need to make the move to Nashville soon.
In August 2010, Parmalee packed up their RV and moved to Nashville temporarily for a month. They parked their RV in the parking lot of the Comfort Inn on Demonbreun St. near Music Row, and it was used as a home, studio, and office as the guys made connections within the industry and focused on their music full time. It was during this time that their connections led to a co-write with David Fanning, part of the celebrated production team, New Voice, comprised of Fanning, Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy and Rich Redmond who has produced such artists as Thompson Square and many more.
It was during the weekend of the infamous Nashville flood that Parmalee and David Fanning penned what would later become their first single “Musta Had A Good Time”; even recording the demo of it in that RV studio as they were completely focused and oblivious to the devastation that was happening around them near the river banks all around Nashville.
After the writing sessions, Parmalee headed into the studio with Fanning and the rest of NV (New Voice) to record some songs professionally and these were presented to BBR Music Group President/CEO Benny Brown who “was impressed and asked to see a showcase as soon as the band returned to Nashville.”
They soon embarked on a short tour of North Carolina to help fund their next trip back to Nashville to showcase, and hoped to enter into the next phase of their musical career.
Then, tragedy struck after a show on September 21, 2010, sidetracking them. As they packed their gear into their RV, two armed men knocked on the door to the vehicle as they were loading out from the venue and then held a gun to Matt’s head demanding money. Shots were fired and Scott, who possessed a concealed weapons license, shot back to defend them. He was shot 3 times and one of the armed robbers was left dead after the incident was over. Scott was flown back to Charlotte to the hospital where he bleed out after a shot to a main artery and was given only a 5% chance of survival.
After 35 days in the hospital, 10 of which Scott spent in a coma, he was released. During that time, family, friends, and fans pulled together with benefits and support to help pay for the hospital bills. If a silver-lining could be found out of this, it’s that they found out just what kind of support they have. No doubt, this experience made them even more determined to fight for their dream.
In February 2011, Scott was finally well enough for Parmalee to play that promised showcase to BBR, and they were signed to Stoney Creek Records, part of BBR Music Group.
It is this determination and will to overcome all obstacles that has shaped Parmalee today. What might’ve broken apart many bands, only seems to have strengthened them and propelled them forward to continue to fight for their dream.
With Parmalee you’ll find a humble, fun, and extremely-talented group of guys who are passionate about their music. They describe their sound as having its roots in “bluegrass, traditional country, southern rock and blues covers the guys grew up hearing their families play.”
What do the guys like to do in their free time? Well, what little they have! They enjoy getting outdoors by fishing, hunting, and hiking.
As far as charity work, Parmalee is heavily-involved with St. Jude’s and ACM Lifting Lives. They feel it’s very important to give back to the community however they can.
If you haven’t had a chance, be sure to check out their debut album and read our review HERE!