Parmalee is a family band composed of brothers Matt and Scott Thomas (lead vocals/ guitar & drums, respectively), cousin Barry Knox (bass) and life long best friend Josh McSwain (guitar). Matt and Scott Thomas grew up near Greenville, NC and learned how to play music by learning from their dad’s band. Barry Knox, who played drums for the church choir, and joined them. They all went to Eastern North Carolina University, where they met Josh.
After their September 21, 2010 show, Josh and Barry were packing gear in the venue while Matt and Scott were outside loading their RV when two armed men knocked on the door. The men put a gun to Matt’s head and demanded money. Shots were fired. Scott, who possessed a concealed weapons license, fired back. One of the gunmen died and Scott was shot three times. One bullet hit Scott’s femoral artery causing him to nearly bleed to death. He was given a 5% chance of life by doctors, but miraculously survived after spending 35 days in the hospital, ten of which he was in a coma.
Parmalee today has been doing very well! They’ve toured with Brad Paisley and Jake Owen, back-to-back, received numerous awards and nominations, etc… Their awards and nominations include:
- 2016 ACM “New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year” award nominee
- The lead single, “Roots,” will impact Country radio on May 2.
- MSN Entertainment “Country Music’s Breakout Stars of 2014.”
- 2014 semi-finalist nomination for ACM “New Artist Of the Year”
They are currently on tour and will be coming to Springfield, MA on April 21st! I highly advise going! I was able to talk with Matt, lead singer of the band, for a little bit!
Tell me your story.
Well it’s me and my brother and my cousin, Barry, and started playing at a bar and playing and writing music together. We went to college at East North Carolina University, where we met Josh and went to Parmalee and found a rehearsal spot and that’s how we started. We toured the country for about a year and finally went to Nashville and got a record deal. Now were here.
How’s being in a band with your family? I don’t think I’d want to be in a band with my family haha.
It’s family, you know, and we get along good. We work towards the same goals and we vibe with the same people. It works and there are some family arguments here and there, that kind of thing, but it happens.
How was touring with Jake Owen?
We had a real good time out there with Jake, he’s a great dude and a good friend of ours. It was really fun and we got to experience a big tour for the first time. We only got to play for 45-minutes but we had a blast.
How’s your tour going so far? Where has your favorite place been to perform on tour?
It’s going great and we’re doing our own thing out here and playing at these festivals, club shows, playing a lot of our new songs, and getting it out there! I don’t have one particular place because I love going all over the country and I’m very fortunate to do that. I love going across the country and just checking out different places? We’ve done overseas stuff with the troops and we’ll be going somewhere out West again next year, but they haven’t told us where yet.
Do you work on new music while touring?
We are constantly working, writing, throwing around new ideas, and singing new music but mostly everything happens in Nashville.
On your albumm, Feels Like Carolina, what were a lot of the songs about? What was your process when writing it?
Just everyday stuff, what you go through, relationships, ideas… We might hear someone say write a song about it and there aren’t really any rules to write a song. You can write a song and just go with it. Well we write the song and get it structured and make it in the studio together.
What is your favorite song on the album?
I think it would be, “Carolina.”
Who are some of your musical influences when you write your music?
We’re influence by everything and there’s not really a particular one. We grew up on a lot of rock’n roll, soul, blues, just about everything.
Do you all have families? When was the last time you were home?
Josh is married and Barry is engaged. We actually just came from Nashville yesterday and will come home at least a couple a days a week.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
I’d love to work with Rhianna or Katy Perry, I think that’d be fun! Maybe Miranda Lambert or Brad Paisley.
Keep on rocking on for me guys and talk soon!
For more information on the band: http://www.parmalee.com/